“Skateboarding doesn’t make you a skateboarder. Not being able to stop skateboarding makes you a skateboarder.” – Lance Mountain, Bones Brigade
Makita Duggan had been having seizures all day. Bedridden for months since being diagnosed with Lyme disease, she was incapable of venturing out into the California sun. A prisoner in her Oceanside home. She wanted to die. Her boyfriend, Tyler sat with her bedside. He gently placed Makita’s hand in his then said to her, “Picture yourself on a skateboard, free, bombing a hill, having fun again.” In her mind, Makita saw her self on a skateboard carving downhill, rolling fast with the wind in her hair and the sun on her face. Her body calmed.

“Learn to focus and appreciate the good when it is happening, and your life will improve immensely.” Photo credit: @tsnap101

From that moment on Makita and Tyler often talked about her getting strong enough to get on a board again. A few months later Makita was having one of her better days. So she and Tyler went to the local skate shop to buy Makita a new longboard.
“Although it had been a few years since I skated—I’d been sick for so long—it was like I had never stopped. On that day, for the first time in a very long time, I smiled again…and laughed,” says Makita.

Photo credit: @tsnap101

As she skated, Makita could feel her deeply rooted depression (stemming from having a chronic illness) lifting slowly. Years earlier, Lyme disease had brought Makita’s life to an abrupt halt. Skateboarding was setting her free from that crippling hold. Now, no matter what, Makita wakes up every day and skates. She began meeting with a couple of female skate groups in the Oceanside area, namely BabesnBoards and SheSkatesHere. The female skate camaraderie helped her to heal; gain back her confidence. The girls in the group were all very kind and loving, encouraging Makita to keep on “kicking and pushing” no matter her skill level.
“I’m not a pro, but skatebaording has given me the freedom to live again,” says Makita.
Makita and Tyler live to travel, and they always ship their skateboards first. Tyler began snapping photos of Makita cruising through her hometown of Oceanside and rolling around the island of Maui. The couple shared the pictures of her progress with family and friends, then on social media. Soon thereafter Makita got her first skateboard sponsor: @kotalongboards. One of Tyler’s shots was even recently used in a Billabong Womens ad campaign.
“It’s been a rough few years, but we made it through the hardest parts,” says Makita’s boyfried, Tyler. “I’ve watched her struggle through what no human should have to go through. Insane things that no one will ever know but us. No matter how hard it got, she just got more beautiful.”

Makita and Tyler. Riding in Hawaii. Photo credit: @i_am_makita

Makita says that skateboarding definitely saved her life; gave her a purpose again. She is still unable to work (or volunteer at the Escondido Humane Society, like she used to) but she and Tyler believe that her Lyme disease is getting closer to remission. The Center for Disease Control estimates that there are over 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year. (Learn more.)

Poipu, Hawaii. Photo credit: @tsnap101 @kotalongboards

“No matter what spot someone finds themselves at in life,” says Makita Duggan, Lyme Warrior. “There are always ways to overcome whatever personal battle you are going through. Find something to do every day that makes you smile. Even if it’s just the thought of doing it. Envision yourself doing it. You don’t even have to be good at it. There’s such freedom in skating and being in the ocean.”

Makena Cove, Maui. Photo credit: @wouldboards @i_am_makita

If someone you know has been affected by Lyme disease, share Makita Duggan’s story with them. Or, go buy them a skateboard.
Follow Makita on Instagram: @i_am_makita
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