Community gathers to raise funds for man’s Lyme disease treatment

Mar 19, 2023

Saturday, March 18 seemed like a typical night at the Wareham Elks Lodge.

The lodge was full of hungry guests, there to enjoy a spaghetti dinner and bingo fundraiser.

However, this was no ordinary fundraiser. The community had come out to support Donnie Lovell, a Wareham native whose various health issues — namely Lyme disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Epstein-Barr virus, HPV and Powassan virus — have left him mostly paralyzed since 2019.

Donnie’s sister Rosario Lovell said that Donnie has regained some mobility from an intravenous treatment designed to prevent Lyme bacteria from reproducing.

Donnie’s family and friends are grateful to see his mobility progress. According to his wife Rachel, Donnie can now move his legs.

“He has a smile on his face,” Rachel said, “and he hasn’t had that for months.”

Donnie goes to a clinic in Miami to receive the treatment, which costs $10,000 per week. 

“Between the treatment and the airfare, the cost is through the roof,” said Donnie’s father Donnie Lovell Sr., who always accompanies his son to Miami.

Rosario, Donnie’s best friend Mark Cobb and Mary Conant organized the fundraiser.

“We are trying to raise money because this treatment seems to be working really well,” Cobb said.

Since September 2022, the Lovells have raised $10,000 for Donnie’s treatments.

Elks Lodge member and event chef Mark Anderson said he was happy to be a part of the cause.

“We are always trying to go above and beyond,” he said.

Rosario said that the Elks have been a great help for the Lovell family. They have not only offered their space, but also volunteered to cook the spaghetti dinner and tend bar. 

“None of this would've been possible if it wasn’t for the people that are here today,” Rachel added.