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Chris Meloni Opens Up About His Family's "Heartbreaking" History with Lyme Disease

“My family was affected by this disease in a very dramatic way," the Law & Order: Organized Crime star told People.

By Jackie Manno

In a recent interview with PeopleLaw & Order: Organized Crime star Chris Meloni opened up about how Lyme disease has impacted his family. 

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“My family was affected by this disease in a very dramatic way. And it was a whole big learning curve because it took us two years to get the correct diagnoses. It was pretty heartbreaking,” Meloni told the outlet. “Witnessing the ones you love more than anything in the world being relentlessly tortured before your eyes… it gets really dark. There's no other light that I see, it's the bleakest thing to either experience or to witness.”

Meloni then went on to elaborate on certain possible and severe symptoms the disease can cause. “It presents itself as any number of things. In my family's case, we thought we were dealing with a stomach flu and then later it turned into relentless migraines and then we were dealing with arthritis. It's a laundry list of horror show potentialities, and I was surprised how little and poor the information was being given out to the public,” he explained.  

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Chris Meloni says his family has a history with Lyme disease

Doris Meloni, Christopher Meloni, Dante Meloni and Sophia Meloni attend the Premiere Of 20th Century Fox's "Snatched"

Meloni's wife, Sherman Williams, was "relentless," he says, in getting to the bottom of Lyme disease and its effects. “She left no stone unturned and she was the driving force at getting answers," Meloni said. "...She’s the hero of all of this.”

In order to step up and make a change, Meloni has partnered with Global Lyme Alliance, a nonprofit that dedicates its resources to curing Lyme disease through innovative research. 

“Our relationship with the Global Lyme Alliance was born in a vacuum of desperation and people looking for answers,” Meloni says. “We felt as though they were our lifeline, our tribe, our community because they were the ones fighting the real fight." 

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He continued, “You want people to recognize what is happening and empower those that are suffering. And that's what the Global Lyme Alliance is doing for us. We're in the boat with them trying to row people in the same direction, what we feel is the right direction towards understanding this disease and finding some kind of solution.”

Det. Elliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) appears in a scene from Law & Order: Organized Crime.

As for what should be done to make progress, Meloni urged people to use their voices. “Lyme disease is one of the fastest growing epidemics, and it's woefully underfunded by governmental agencies," he said. "Get involved because as a group, we're way stronger together and we really have to bring our collective pain together and bring action to it. That's the only way things are gonna get done.”