Interview with Tammy Blizzard

What is your name and where do you live?

My name is Tammy Blizzard and I live in State College, Pennsylvania, USA.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What do you do during your spare time?

I am a medically retired veterinarian, which explains why I have 2 dogs, 4 cats, and 3 fish tanks with probably around 40 fish, shrimp, and snails. I enjoy their company and taking care of them, and our small dog – a shih tzu Benny – loves when I take him out for a short walk. I also do light household duties such as make dinner – I love to cook and bake! – to the best of my abilities that day.

I am also grateful a colleague offered me a job grading her Animal Science class online for a local large university, which allows me to keep my toes in the field without depleting too much energy.

My family has a camper and we go to local campgrounds 2-3 times a year to enjoy our beautiful mountains and a change of environment.

What is your role at

My biggest role is as a moderator for the online support group on Facebook. There, I am known to provide more of a technical role and a voice of reason when helping our members through their new diagnosis and treatment in the overwhelming path of myelopathy.

I currently also participate in the RECODE-DCM steering committee.

Why did you get involved with

I was diagnosed with myelopathy in December 2014 and had surgery 5 days later. I wasn’t on Facebook at the time and it is a very lonely world when everything changes – I suddenly had a hard time walking, using my arms, I was losing my career, everything was crumbling around me.

I went back on Facebook for many reasons in 2015, and found the myelopathy support group that Iwan had just founded. I have been there in varying degrees since.

How did you hear about

A Facebook search!

What has your experience been like with

Amazing really. I have watched it grow from a small group of people to nearly a few thousand, and I have made acquaintances and a couple of strong friendships. Through its connections, it has also given me some amazing opportunities: going to New York City to help determine the top research priorities, and also going to Las Vegas as a patient representative at the Global Spine Congress for determination of the core measurement set with RECODE-DCM.

Tell us two truths and one lie about yourself.

  • The first patient I milked in vet school was a 2000+ lb Belgian mare
  • I went parasailing when I was 19 in Colorado
  • My first job was a bus boy at a Polish smorgasbord