Sara Boyd is the president of Operation Truth - Gulf War Suffering Unite, which is a non-profit that helps bring awareness to the illnesses that many Gulf War-era veterans were exposed to.
Links & Resources
- Operation Truth on Instagram
- Operation Truth on Facebook
- Operation Truth on Twitter
- Operation Truth on TikTok
Scott DeLuzio: 00:00:00 Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast, where we're focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community, whether you're a veteran, active duty, guard, reserve, or family member, on this podcast we'll share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I'm your host, Scott DeLuzio and now let's get on with the show. Hi everybody; welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today my guest is Sara Boyd. Sara is the president of Operation Truth, Gulf War Suffering Unite, which is a nonprofit that helps bring awareness to the illnesses that many Gulf War era veterans were exposed to during that service. So welcome to the show, Sara, why don't you tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background.
Sara Boyd: 00:00:44 Thank you for having me. My name is Sara Boyd and I am the president/founder of Operation Truth, Gulf War Suffering Unite, like you stated. And I was born and raised in a small town in Cedar Woolley, Washington in the Pacific Northwest. And at the age of 17, I didn't have the grades to get a scholarship, so I decided to join the military, actually at the age of 15, I decided to join the military and spoke with a recruiter and he told me to come back in two years. And so I did. And at that time I was speaking to a Marine recruiter with my best friend in high school. And we were both going to join the Marines at the same time. And then I found out that the army was providing a $40,000 college fund if you signed up for four years and you were able to choose your own job.
Sara Boyd: 00:01:34 So I took my ASVAB and I was offered three different positions in the army, fuel area, which was a fuel system supply specialist, a cook, or a mechanic. And so at the time I loved working on vehicles, but the last thing I wanted to do was work on a military vehicle and I hated cooking and doing dishes and waking up that early just seemed like way too much. So I chose fuel system supply. I figured I'd do it for four years, get my $40,000 and be on my way, but other plans came about and as the universe usually does it makes those decisions for us.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:02:17 Yeah, absolutely. And it's interesting to hear how people make a decision to choose one job or another, or how their career trajectory changes. You know, if you think that you're only going to stay for four years and some people end up doing 20 years because they just love what they are doing or just different things happen. And life comes at you fast and things change. So, let's talk a little bit about that. So you said things maybe didn't go exactly according to plan. So what went on there and what led you to eventually getting out of the military?
Sara Boyd: 00:02:56 Well, originally, like I said, at the age of 18 and the delayed entry program, and so I went in right after I graduated from high school and I ended up meeting my first husband and he was a heavy construction equipment operator, and he was stationed at Hunter Armour Airfield in Georgia, which was my first duty station. So after I was done with my training, mind you, they added an additional skill identifier to my contract, Dr. AIT. So I went on to conduct ADA training at Fort Leonardwood in Missouri, right before going to my first duty station. So I met my first husband and we started a family and that's when I decided to make the army my career.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:03:45 Yeah. And again like things happen and your decisions will eventually evolve with what's going on in your life. So around what time was this in the nineties or early 2000. So what time was that?
Sara Boyd: 00:04:06 Yeah, so during the late part of 1998, and at that time, it was during the Anthrax Vaccine Immunization project that was signed into power in President Bill Clinton's regime. And I'm sure you probably recall there was an anthrax scare in the mail. And it was around the early two thousands that they discovered there was anthrax being sent in the mail. And there was a family that was affected and actually got millions of dollars as a result. So during that time period, we were in peacetime, before 9/11, and we weren't at war so to speak. And so what they did, they saw this threat, this Anthrax threat as a need to provide the entire military service with this vaccine. And so what they did was produce an anthrax vaccine that was a six shot series to make sure that our military was protected for this potential biohazard.
Sara Boyd: 00:05:14 And so what they did is they made it mandatory for a hundred percent of all service members to get the anthrax vaccine. And so, like I said, I joined the military in 1998 during peacetime. And I went through basic training, not really understanding what was going on. No one in my family had joined the military, with the exception of both my grandfathers for World War II and the Korean War, my uncle was Vietnam, but he didn't serve in the Vietnam area, although he still was affected and ended up getting hepatitis C from something during his military service and than having a liver transplant. So I didn't have a lot of military influence in my family. And so I had no idea what to expect going into the military. So I did what I was told, just like any good soldier, went through basic training, got my vaccinations, did my pushups and earned my soldier ribbon, just like everyone else.
Sara Boyd: 00:06:14 But what I recall going through basic training is having such a large amount of edema in both of my legs, that you could see it. And my fellow soldiers were asking, oh, what's wrong with your legs? Or why can't we see the definition in your ankles? Because at basic training for our graduation, we had to wear our pumps and our skirts. And so you could see my legs and my ankles had no definition. So at that time, I just pushed on, drove through and I ended up spending 10 years on active duty. And through this timeframe, I had two beautiful daughters. I ended up having a miscarriage in between two of my live births. And I didn't realize what was happening. I was having so many medical challenges. I had two different permanent profiles, one was for Raynaud's phenomenon.
Sara Boyd: 00:07:11 And so they allowed me to wear whatever cold weather gear I could, which I had a lot of fun tormenting my leadership at that one. And then I had another permanent profile, which allowed me to walk instead of run for the PT exam. And of course, any time you are a leader trying to advance in your career, it is difficult when you can't lead from the front. And with these profiles, it really hindered my ability to do that. And so I had to adapt and overcome a lot of obstacles just to reach what I achieved in my military career. And I was able to achieve Staff Sergeant status. And as a result, I was forced to change my MOS two different times. So I was originally a fuel system supply specialist and then I got out in the family care plan because both my husband and I were in the military the same time, he got out the first time
Sara Boyd: 00:08:16 and so we didn't have a family care plan. And we ended up both getting out right before 9/11, and then six months after I got out 9/11 happened. And we both went back to the recruiters and said, we both want to go back in. And so we both went back into the Army. And at that time I changed my MOS to become an administrative specialist, because that's all I did when I was a fuel supply specialist anyway; that's all I knew. And then I determined that there was no chance for advancement in that career because the more that we continued at war, the more that we continued to have soldiers that were injured and instead of those soldiers getting med boarded out, they would stay in and they would put them in MOSs that they were able to work at and administrative field was one of those MOSs.
Sara Boyd: 00:09:08 And so it became very heavily concentrated with many soldiers and extremely difficult, even more so to get promoted. So I went back to school and I raised my GT score enough to become anything in the military. They offered me multiple positions to be working in psych ops or CID, or they really wanted me to be an interpreter. I decided that I wanted to go into counter-intelligence. So I became a counterintelligence special agent. I went through the school at Fort Huachuca from 2006 to 2007, and they shipped me off to Korea to be part of the second infantry division. And that's when my health really declined. They gave me several vaccinations to go to Korea, including the anthrax vaccine and within a 48 hour time period, I had received two anthrax vaccines and a smallpox vaccine prior to going to Korea.
Sara Boyd: 00:10:10 So, within those two months after getting to Korea, I was in so much pain. I was on quarters constantly. I was in and out of the hospital. I had to go and see a civilian hospital outside in the Korean sector. I had no interpreter. They gave me an interpreter. I had no clue what the doctors were saying. And I had to go through this CT exam to determine at that point, they thought I had thyroids or endometriosis. And when I got back, they sent me back to the states to Washington State and Fort Lewis to be med boarded. And it was a very lengthy process. They pushed you through very quickly. I was in the med board process for eight months. I didn't have time to do the surgery, which was the only way to diagnose endometriosis.
Sara Boyd: 00:11:09 And so I met with two J officers to determine what I should do. Should I go for my retirement and fight them for that over 30%, or should I take the severance pay and get in with the 20%? And both JAG officers told me that more likely than not, I will lose this. I took the severance pay, but what I really should have done was fight for my retirement because I'm still fighting for my retirement and changing that order that I should have got retirement, because as soon as I got out and the VA took over my care, they gave me 80 or 60%. So I went from 20% in the military to 60% with the VA.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:11:55 Right. So, with all of these illnesses, did they ever figure out what the root cause was and what actually was going on with you and how did that end up playing out?
Sara Boyd: 00:12:11 Unfortunately due the med board process, they didn't find the cause. I had about 12 different items listed on my med board to go through the VA. So the VA took over and they tried to find the cause. I was currently in Washington at the time. And we were focusing on my breast involvement because we had found a lump in my right breast. And so I started with cancer screening back in 2010. And I've been getting cancer screening since in multiple organs, not just my breasts, but my ovaries, my liver, my kidneys, and my thyroid. My thyroid has several cysts that they continue to monitor. And I have done what they called a needle biopsy, which is a very long needle. And of course, you can't feel it, but you can still feel the needle moving around in your neck. And it is the weirdest feeling, but I am continuing to get cancer screenings and I'm cancer free at this time. In addition to that, they couldn't determine why my body was attacking itself on an immune level. And they have no idea what is causing the neurological symptoms. So I've been diagnosed since 1998 with over 25 debilitating medical conditions; one of which the VA has determined and called, which there is no medical code for, it's almost like they just made this up. It's called vaccine immunoglobulin and antisera adverse reaction.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:14:00 Right?
Sara Boyd: 00:14:02 So I was diagnosed with that at the Michigan VA in 2018, and it took me several years for the doctors and their colleagues to even come to that conclusion because there was no other explanation for my cause of exposure. The VA understands that Gulf War illness happens. And there's a number of exposures that cause Gulf War illness. And if you go to the VA's public health website, you can see all these different toxic exposures that are listed. Vaccinations are listed as one of those toxic exposures. But what the VA isn't recognizing is that those of us that didn't deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan still got those same vaccinations. And some of us are suffering from what they called, Gulf War illness or chronic multi-symptom illness. And they are assumed to be calling it a whole other thing so that it can encompass more than just those who are deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, because the exposures aren't just those wars, the exposures are also water contamination, vaccinations, and several other things that we didn't experience just in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sara Boyd: 00:15:19 And so these military exposures, they're not expanding because they've been doing research for over 30 years, but they aren't doing research on the vaccine portion, at least not the correct research. And that's where Operation Truth comes in and why I started my charity. I continued to reach out to Facebook groups and any other veteran organization that I could to try to find out what was wrong with me. I've been researching this since I got out in 2008 to try to determine what the cause is so that we can find what the cause is and better treat it. If we're just treating the symptoms, all we're doing is attempting to give the veteran a better quality of life until death. And when we find the cause we can treat the cause, find the cause, decrease the degradation inside the body and increase not only the quality of life, but the length of life, the longevity of life.
Sara Boyd: 00:16:26 And so that's what we're working so hard for at Operation Truth. It is to determine why some of us have this vaccine injury and others don't. So where I come in is I am that variable. My demographic of patients is the variable of veterans that didn't deploy. And the VA understands that that data is critical. So much so that when I was a veteran at the Washington VA in 2015, my primary care providers sent me to conduct the Gulf War registry exam. Now this is the exam that the research advisory committee puts together so that they can determine through many different environmental factors, what is going on with this individual. They gathered this data and they can do what they want to get further funding for other research and many other factors. And so I went through this Gulf War registry exam back in 2015, and they knew that I didn't deploy to Iraq or Afghanistan.
Sara Boyd: 00:17:31 And so the parameters for this Gulf War registry is that you have the medical conditions that are listed or that you deployed to the Iraq or Afghanistan area of operation. So I didn't deploy, and they're still collecting this data, not only through the Gulf War registry exam, but through their war related injury illness and support center, otherwise known as RISK. So these facilities are specifically made through the Gulf War registry, or excuse me, Gulf War illness Consortium to gather this information through further research and further funding and all these different things that the VA does with this data, except helping the veterans that are not deployed like myself.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:18:22 Right. And that's interesting because whether you deployed or not, if one of the things which you said they recognize that the vaccines are a potential cause of some of these illnesses, even if you didn't deploy and you receive these vaccines, then you should fall under that umbrella. I would think anyways, I mean, that's using too much common sense for the situation, but for me though, one of the things I never understood with regards to vaccinations in the military, and this is not to go on a tangent or anything, to get off topic, but one thing I didn't understand was when I did deploy to Afghanistan, I was given the first dose or two of the anthrax vaccine before deploying.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:19:15 And then I got another dose while I was in Afghanistan. But that vaccine that I took, like you said earlier, requires six total doses for the full protection. I never got the remaining three doses. And so I guess the point I'm trying to make is if the vaccine was necessary to protect against an anthrax attack, then I would think that I wouldn't have been fully protected before I deployed with only getting the first couple of doses. And so clearly I didn't need to be fully protected to deploy. And so if I didn't need to be fully protected before deploying, then why was the vaccine necessary at all? Like looking back on it now, and again, like you said, just like a good soldier, I was like, okay, I rolled my sleeve up and took the vaccine, but thinking about it, I didn't really have the full protection of the vaccine. So, what was the point? It didn't seem like it was even necessary to take. And if it was, I should have started taking it earlier so I can get the full protection before deploying.
Sara Boyd: 00:20:22 You bring up some great points and it all comes back to the efficacy of the vaccine itself. And that is one of the major reasons why they started the investigation. The 106 Congress in the early two thousands, started their investigation to determine why so many service members didn't want to get the anthrax vaccine. And so when they did this study, they did determine that the efficacy, there was no protection for airborne anthrax. So when you consider a biodefense for this bio weapon, more likely than not as a bioweapon would be airborne. And so they understand that it's not fully protecting the individual that is getting vaccinated, but they feel that it will decrease the impact of the possibility of the anthrax infecting that individual. So the reason why I'm bringing this up and to speak to this specifically is that I spoke to a veteran not too long ago here in Michigan.
Sara Boyd: 00:21:30 And so he was part of that special force team that went into Iran. They had come across anthrax. And so they were infected with this airborne biodefense weapon. And so what they did for these individuals was treat them with an antibiotic. So they did have their shots, possibly not all six shots. They also had to take an antibiotic for over a year after they were exposed. So with that being said, I believe that our department of defense had an understanding that we're taking this vaccine. It would decrease the effects of a possible exposure, therefore making it more able to just take the antibiotic and still be okay, but what the antibiotic does to the body is even a high risk as well. And so this individual, I spoke to him, he had a lot of complications as a result of taking the antibiotic after the vaccine, but nothing nearly as much as what I had as a result of the vaccine’s adverse events.
Sara Boyd: 00:22:43 I understand that not everybody has these adverse events, for example, my first husband and I were at most of the same duty stations with the exception of training when he went to Iraq, Afghanistan. So he's been to both of our war related areas during this timeframe. And he had no exposure. He has no medical conditions like I have. And so that leads to questions, like, what is it about our demographic that makes us have these types of adverse events? So just like they discovered, “they” being the VA and the department of defense, they discovered that some individuals have a marker on their blood protein that indicates that they cannot take the malaria pills. Because the malaria pills would cause more risk than the actual malaria itself. And so they can still get deployed.
Sara Boyd: 00:23:42 They just have to take another measure in the event that they are exposed. They are not able to take the malaria meds for that prevention. So in the event that for my demographic and others like me, we believe that we can find that same protein. And I have found a research group out of California that can do just that; we can determine through genetic biomarkers who's more susceptible to that vaccine adjuvant injury. And that's the key, the adjuvants placed inside of the vaccines that cause the immune response in the body.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:24:20 So now I would imagine that there's other vaccines that are out there, and especially in the news today, the COVID vaccine and all that, that are out there. And there are some reports of adverse reactions to all sorts of different vaccines. And as a matter of fact, I found a flyer, like a DOD pamphlet from back in the timeframe that you were talking about. And it talks about the anthrax vaccine and it lists who should not get the anthrax vaccine. And it says that people who had a serious allergic reaction or other serious reaction to a prior dose, should not get the anthrax vaccine. And so interestingly, back then they recognized that there are some adverse reactions to these vaccines. And I have to imagine that other vaccines have similar things like that. So going back to what you were saying about the markers in someone's blood, I would imagine that there's probably something for several other vaccines that are out there that might have adverse reactions that we can try to discover what's causing these adverse reactions and maybe come up with some other alternate solutions for these people so that they don't end up having serious illnesses like you're suffering through.
Sara Boyd: 00:25:49 Absolutely. When you try to solve a problem for everyone with one solution, you're only going to create more problems. And so when you speak to a vaccine adverse event and each vaccine does have adverse events, each vaccine has different ingredients. Each vaccine has a different adjuvant that is placed into the vaccine because it all depends on the virus and how it presents in the body and that protein that connects to the immune system in order to get that immune response that they're looking for; that's why they put these certain ingredients into these vaccinations. Even as early as this COVID vaccine is MRNA adjuvants that have been placed in this COVID vaccine have been used previously, but it has not been used and researched for the long-term effects of these mRNA adjuvants on the body.
Sara Boyd: 00:26:56 And so even with, as new as this COVID vaccine is, they still have adverse events listed. Of course, if you were given the vaccine and had an adverse event, you are added to that contraindication list, and therefore can't get that vaccine again. They will offer another vaccine or something else that has different ingredients because they understand that that body had an adverse negative reaction to the ingredients in that vaccine. And if you go to the CDC website, you can see that for COVID, the COVID-19 vaccine that lists other ingredients as well that can have an adverse event. So there's two different ingredients about the Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer vaccines that can cause adverse events that are not adjuvant related. And so it's very important to be having these discussions with your doctor.
Sara Boyd: 00:27:55 So I don't understand this push in our vaccination process to have uneducated individuals going on TV acting as if it is a commercial for the latest product and then going to your local Walgreens, CVS, or Walmart to get your vaccination. This is the wrong answer. This is a medical procedure that has short-term and long-term effects that can be either positive or negative. These things we need to discuss with our doctor to determine and to ensure that we don't have any reason that we should be using a different method. And there's other methods of prevention out there. Vaccination is not the only one.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:28:50 Right. And I think that that's an important discussion to have and especially in the upper levels of the military and government where they are talking about widespread usage of this. And like you said before, one vaccine for one particular thing is not necessarily the right thing for everybody. No, it may be perfectly fine for a certain portion of the population, but it's not the right thing to give to everyone across the board, because just look at people like yourself. And there's a number of other examples out there of people who have been injured by things like a vaccine. And so when we are just talking about across the board, let's get everybody on this and that, that raises some red flags in my mind anyways, where you are opening up the possibility that there's going to be some negative reactions. And there's been a bunch that have been in the news about people who've recently had some adverse reactions to some of these vaccines and I think more research needs to be done. And like you were saying, finding some of those markers that might indicate who's more susceptible to having an adverse reaction is probably necessary before making it so widespread.
Sara Boyd: 00:30:23 Absolutely. And not only that it would drive down vaccine hesitation because I'm sure that if we had more knowledge out there that wasn't misinformation, that wasn't possibly lack of integrity type of information, then these individuals would be more likely to step up and consider the vaccination as their preventative measure. But like I said, when you try to provide a solution for a problem or one solution for a problem, this is just going to create more. And in addition to that, the <inaudible> system is broken, significantly broken, and we most definitely need to change how we report these vaccine injuries. If you go to the CDC website, they have a web link that is for a program where you can look up these different adverse events. And I believe it's called CDC Wonder, and it is the most difficult non-user friendly program that I've ever attempted to pull a survey off of. These reports are most difficult or very difficult to get, and the way the system is put together, and there are so many, many, many, many reports of individuals with short term, long-term events from these vaccinations, multiple different vaccinations.
Sara Boyd: 00:31:57 And that's why we have a vaccine injury compensation program, but the government makes it so difficult to get that money. It needs an act of Congress. And so that's what we're doing. We're literally getting an act of Congress to mandate that the VA put together an additional CDMRP grant and funding for research for this specific exposure, so that we can determine through this genetic biomarker research who's more susceptible to adjuvant injury. In addition to using mass spectrometer testing to determine the concentrations of squealing and aluminum hydroxide adjuvants in our bodies. They can do so by taking three different groups, a group of individuals from the first Gulf War, a group of individuals from the AVIT program, and then another group from the after 9/11 effects and determine just the concentration of those adjuvants alone, so that we can determine where we need to go for our next step in our research.
Sara Boyd: 00:33:07 If you can correlate individuals like myself, who are in this demographic of non-deployed Gulf War illness exposures, then we can add that to these individuals who have these heavy concentrations and determine from there where we needed to take our research further. And then the third part for our proposal to the secretary of the VA in Congress is to have a smart watch device that can monitor not only our complete blood counts and our vitamin and mineral levels but also our <inaudible> tests to tell us what we have antibodies built up against so that we have that real world knowledge of our immune systems and what we're at risk for and where. In addition, it would have our tailored medical information on it. For example, myself, as a result of my autonomic neuropathy and my cardiovascular issues, I now use a walker and a cane.
Sara Boyd: 00:34:11 And the only way that I can monitor when my blood pressure is going to get so low that I'm going to pass out is just by feeling it in my body. So what this smart device can do is detect that change. And I could sit down and be able to monitor that a lot more effectively with this smartphone device. So that's what we're proposing to the secretary of the VA in Congress, in addition to what we needed to change in our various system and the VA, so that we can gain presumptive illnesses for those individuals that didn't deploy and make it a lot more easy on the VA overall, because they just have so many claims and just too many individuals to take care of under the current research advisory committee. We certainly need at least two more research advisory committees, not only for the additional research of this vaccine exposure, but for also the additional research of our intergenerational exposures, the possibility that we have passed these mutated genetics onto our children and our grandchildren are being seen in these medical anomalies. And it's unfortunate that the VA hasn't, in 30 years, decided to put this funding where it is needed.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:35:33 So what are some resources that are available to service members and the veterans who might be suffering from this that can help them if they were affected by an illness, kind of like what you're dealing with.
Sara Boyd: 00:35:46 Resources, as far as finding the research can be found on our website at OperationTruth.net. It is a working website. We are updating it as we speak. And so it'll be a lot more user friendly and you will be able to find those documents a lot easier. We also have a lot of our information on our Facebook page at OperationTruthGWI, Instagram, we’re on Tik TOK, we're also on LinkedIn. You can find us on multiple different platforms. Number one thing is if you feel that you have Gulf War illness or have a chronic multi-symptom illness as a result of your exposure is to contact your primary care provider. And if you're not in the VA and your primary care provider decides that he or she doesn't want to assist you, you can go directly to the VA's environmental coordinator for your state. Every VA has an environmental coordinator, and you can contact them directly.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:36:51 Yeah, I think that's good advice, good resources. And I will link to all of this in the show notes. A lot of the things that we talked about, some of the websites that were mentioned earlier in the episode, I'll try to have some links to those in the show notes and certainly all the links to Operation Truth, the website, social media, and everything will be there in the show notes. So you guys can check out everything that they're doing and all the research that they have available and get in touch if there's something that you guys can do to reach out and help each other. So, Sara, it's been a pleasure speaking with you today.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:37:42 I think we should at least be having this conversation and coming up with some solutions and understanding what's going on with some of these vaccines, and try to figure out how we can make it work, because clearly the goal of protecting ourselves is a good goal. And I don't think anyone can argue with that goal. But if it's not ultimately going to protect some people, then we need to come up with a solution that will work for those people and not cause more harm than good, especially in people who were not deployed like yourself, who were not in a high risk of exposure to some of these things. It doesn't make sense to have them exposed to something unnecessarily; so I really enjoyed the discussion, really enjoyed the conversation. I think we need to be doing more of this and hopefully this sparks some conversation with some other people who are listening and gets some interest going around in the types of research that are needed.
Sara Boyd: 00:38:56 Absolutely. And thank you for having me. One of the things that I wanted to address is the divisive climate. There's such a division between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. And what they don't understand is that those individuals in your unvaccinated demographic are people like myself who have immune compromised systems that can't get vaccinated. And so we have to come up with other ways to have preventative measures. We have to mask up, we have to ensure that our white blood count is up and we have to take that risk every time we go out into the public. And so I would urge people to have compassion for those individuals that aren't like you, that have decided not to get vaccinated for whatever reason. There's a good reason for individuals to stand up for what they feel is right. And it isn't about being selfish or wanting others to have to do something that you are not willing to do.
Sara Boyd: 00:40:10 I mean, this is about health freedom, about medical freedom, about the ability to make those choices for yourself, because there is a possibility of long-term health effects and anybody that is informing you of a particular way to get a vaccination. Are they going to pay for your damage if an adverse event occurs? Are they going to be there to take care of you when you can't drive anymore? Are they going to be there to take care of you when you can't cook a meal? When you can't stand to take a shower, when you have to sit in the shower because you will pass out, if you don't. When you have to use a walker just to go through the store because you can't stand or you'll pass out, but you have to use a cane just to walk across the room, but these are all things that are potentially long-term adverse events that you could have to experience. Think about that before you inform somebody to take a health precaution that could potentially have long-term health events and have effects, vaccine injuries do occur, and it is time that we start the prevention for these vaccine injuries from occurring and in order to do so, we need all the help that we can get.
Sara Boyd: 00:41:32 And so today is the first and it marks the first day of a vaccine injury awareness month. And our first day that we are starting our year long viral campaign, which is a vaccine injury research and awareness project. And this next year, you will see a lot coming from us and we need as much support as we can. We need ambassadors that are willing to not only post the research and information that we're putting out on our social media, but to get out there in the local communities and reach out to our veteran service agencies, the American legions, the VFWs, the other informed choice civilian organizations, reach out to these individuals across the nation. Now is the time to stand up for vaccine injury research and we are going to do so. October 23rd is our first major event. It's an online event. You can purchase our t-shirt packages here soon that we had a veteran designer here locally produce.
Sara Boyd: 00:42:38 So those t-shirt packages will have a t-shirt, a beanie and a car decal or sticker that you can put on anything that you prefer. And yeah, different variations of the package and the price itself will be $40. And that entire $40 will go to making this happen to getting this research, taking care of others. A lot of that we have to do, and we can't do it alone. So if you're willing and able to be part of our team, we will have you at any position. We definitely need as many ambassadors as we can get. So thank you again for having me on and for allowing me to bring awareness to the vaccine injury community.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:43:23 Well, I'm glad that you are doing the work and starting that conversation and getting the work to understand what's going on behind some of these vaccines. So, it's a good place to start and like Sara said, anyone who is willing to get out there and help out with some of this, go check out their website, OperationTruth.net, and get involved if you're willing and able. Go head on over there and get involved. So thank you again, Sara. I really appreciate it.
Sara Boyd: 00:43:57 Thank you for the opportunity to speak to what it was like to be a chronic illness patient, and a lot of individuals don't understand what that is like. And so much so, that I've had people come to me and tell me that in order to express competence, you need to wear your makeup. You need to bedazzle your glasses. You need to do your hair. You need to dress a certain way. You need to present yourself in a certain way. You need to speak in a certain way. You are the face of your 5 0 1 C3. You need to show them what it looks like. And I'm thinking to myself. So you're telling me I need to fake being well, because that is not my everyday. I don't put on makeup. I don't do my hair. I don't put on the “clothes.” I don't put on this persona that they want me to put on, because that would be me faking being well.
Sara Boyd: 00:44:57 And that is an additional energy I do not have. So for me, I don't know how to fake being well. This is me. Every day I struggle. It is an extreme struggle just to get out of bed, just to do my daily activities of eating, to make my food, even to feel the need to eat, I have to medicate on cannabis just to have an appetite. So many different factors of being a chronically ill patient, that people don't understand that when you see us out in public, we are faking being well, not being sick. We are faking being well so that we can live among the ableists. Those who are able and don't have to think about taking their medication. They don't have to line up their products so that they don't forget that they need to wash their face or that they already did.
Sara Boyd: 00:45:56 So they put it away or moisturize or different things that people do on a daily basis that they don't understand. Just breathing, just digesting when your body is in that constant fight or flight mode that autonomic nervous system puts yourself in. There are so many different things that your body cannot do. And not only that, we are struggling with our doctors, not just at the VA, but in the civilian sector to be heard, to be understood, to do the testing, to find the cause. Just this week, I saw the top neurologist at the VA in Ann Arbor, Michigan and he told me to give up. He used those words. He said, give up on trying to find a cause because you will never find it. He told me that the possibility of finding a cause for my autonomic neuropathy is causing more mental damage than it would cause.
Sara Boyd: 00:46:56 And he refused to conduct any more testing. And I refuse to give up. So I asked him, sir, if you lost the ability to be a doctor, if you lost the ability to work, if you lost the ability to take care of your family, if you lost the ability to drive, the ability to walk across the room, what would you do? Would you be okay with that answer, giving up? And he said, no. And then he stood up and proceeded to walk out of the room saying, I am done with this conversation. And he passed me on to his student. That is what we have to deal with every day as a chronic illness patient. And that is why I fight every day just to be well. And so public, please, when you see somebody that is chronically ill, do not say, “smile,” do not say those things that would post a negative notion in their mind, be compassionate. Be understanding, that's all we need. Thank you.
Scott DeLuzio: 00:48:17 Well, thank you very much for that. And you know, I thank you for sharing your story and the organization and the research that's being done. I think it is really important and I'm glad we had a chance to share this on the show and I'm hopeful that it opens up some conversation amongst people down the road. So thank you again for sharing all of that.
Sara Boyd: Thanks for having me.
Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website, DriveOnPodcast.com. We're also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at DriveOnPodcast.