Saturday, 17 December 2011

A Call For Help

Maria's Story - Click for YouTube vid

We are getting close to Christmas.  A time when many of us spend a lot of money on luxuries.  I am writing this post to ask that you consider directly helping someone in need of something more basic - a home. 

Maria is a Facebook friend who has been dreadfully ill.  I know from my own illness how devastating many of her symptoms can be.  One of the differences between myself and Maria though is that I am lucky enough to live in a warm and safe apartment that is not making my health worse.  You can hear from Maria's video (link at beginning of post), and read from her note below, that she is not so lucky.

It takes great courage to ask for help.  As Maria has said on Facebook: "I am so ashamed to be doing this as everyone I know is just as strapped financially as I am. But I am desperate and maybe this will fall into the hands of someone who is able to help so I am swallowing my pride and posting."

I have counted by blessings and donated to Maria's cause and I hope you will consider doing the same.  I sincerely thank you for doing so.



Link To Donate

Maria's appeal:

clean safe housing critically needed for wheelchair/bed bound young lady

I desperately need safe housing where I can continue my fight against late stage neurological Lyme disease. I am 99 percent bedridden and I live in a very old trailer that is filled with mold and mildew. The bathroom wall is turning to mulch and the floor rotted through to the hall closet. I cannot afford to use the central heat as the unit is antiquated and costs half of my monthly income to run. I have no insulation and I can see the wind blow in the kitchen behind the stove with the doors shut. I get birds inside with the doors closed as well. The electric sockets on one side of the trailer get hot enough to burn when you use them or run the washing machine. I am in a wheelchair and can not fit it in the the bedrooms or the bathroom and I have no wheelchair ramp so I have to scoot on the floor to get out the front door and down the steps.
I have been dreaming of what it would be like to be in a clean house or apartment but I live solely on disability which is less than $700 dollars a month. My hope is that someone will be able and willing to help me with this dream so that I can get well and pay it forward to others in hazardous situations.


  1. Hell..all I ever seem to have to give are my tears ... no reason for shame on Maria's part ... Shame on the world .... always seems the people who should feel shame .. never feel much beyond that which motivates actions that create so much misery

  2. Thanks for reaching out, Maria. As you may know, my two children and I have been in similar straits and have had to reach out. I'll share this and hope that it finds the right people who can help.

  3. barry, very touching that you made this a blogpost. maria, i, too, am happy to share your post. as creek said she was in your shoes and thru the NEID's community online - she eventually found a home.
    alisa xx

  4. I know the mindset, Maria. Like you I was huddled in the only place I could live without paying rent. Wondering if the roof would cave in first or the floor drop beneath my feet.

    Living in the mountains, I had deer mice and wood rats as housemates, with an occasional bear, tree frog in the bath, and bats. I knew the mice carried more infectious germs (hanta virus for one) but was helpless to close up the many holes that permitted their entry. And bears would thrash through plastic-covered windows in my absence (say for doctor appts) if I left food out.

    Like you, I have chronic Lyme with severe neuro and muscular-skeletal problems. I asked my brothers (who lived far across the US) for help - family, right? Doesn't family stick together and help each other? Two didn't respond. One did and said he and his wife were saving to buy a second sofa like the one they had ($1000). This bro and his wife have great jobs, good incomes, no kids, and a huge estate home with pool in a gated community. So much for family.

    Having shamed myself by asking for help, I felt rejected and worthless when my family was unresponsive. Friends did what they could, but no one had so much extra that they could make a big difference for me. I spent a lot of time crying and struggling to see life differently - to think my way out of that dirty, degraded box.

    I had a miracle happen. Without any effort by me I was swept up into a class action suit against the insurance company who denied my longterm disability claim on the excuse that Worker's Comp had denied me. The company had denied over 500,000 claims in a few years, and thus a legal suit was made against them for frivolous claim denials and anyone denied could reapply with a huge amount of documentation and appeal information.

    To cut to the end, I decided that this was my last chance to speak my truth and not be led by lawyers (who had also abused my trust, took my money and didn't help me).

    I won a claim reversal. This hasn't lifted me out of fear of living under a bridge as the claim payments end when I'm 65 - in one year and 10 months. But it did lift me out of that rotten, filthy, unsafe home with no regular electricity (solar and generator only) and plants growing thru the floor and walls.

    I wish I could send you money to help your situation but my miracle didn't include that kind of financial benefits. But I am writing this to tell you that I was in such despair and saw absolutely no way my situation could change without someone (obviously not my brothers!) rescuing me. I never imagined that any of the disability claims that had been denied could be revived and end up paying me a monthly amount that let me move from that situation.

    And an additional outcome was that just one year after I was able to move from that decrepit old trailer in the mountains to a small cheap rental in town, a wildfire from lightning swept thru the whole area and burned my property, many others, and the surrounding many square miles.

    I look back on that and think how horrible it would have been to still be in that home when the wildfire occurred. To escape to a disaster shelter and have nothing to return to.

    I don't know how I'll survive when this insurance money ends. But now I do know that my imagination isn't fluid enough to encompass all that can happen.

    So I can only pass on to you hope - and the awareness that we can't see all that might happen to rescue us. Asking for help might get you more than it did me. However it comes to you, I hope you have your own miracle.

  5. Hi Barry, I know I'm writing this late but I just wanted to thank you for helping Maria get the word out. I remember that initial conversation w/Maria when things were very much as dire as she described and we were brainstorming ways to find a way out, and because of your & everyone else's help, I saw light in her eyes last night that I haven't seen in a long time.

    IMO there is the greatest testament to how much power we have to help other patients from our bedrooms. I hope other patient advocates will take notice.