Hi my name is Elaine and I would like to briefly share some of my story with you. Approximately 24 years in my mid 30’s while living on Staten Island my life slowly started changing due to illness. Prior to my health crisis I was a vibrant woman who exercised daily, did volunteering work , was involved in community affairs and overall loved my life. I was employed working at a dialysis Facility and lived in a Garden Apartment for 19 years. Looking back I believe that the years working with Chemicals coupled with Environmental stressors were cause for my Immune System decline.
Early on I was diagnosed as having Occupational Asthma and Fibromyalgia. Unable to function around chemicals any longer was forced to leave my place of employment. I was attending Nursing school when my health started to decline even further. My eyes sight began to change, my hormones , my body in general started to change shape. Eventually I was told I had Lyme disease, from there continued down hill spiral developing a blood clotting disorder, Systemic Lupus, Gastro Intestinal Diseases, Fatty Liver disease, Granuloma’s in my lung, Arthritic conditions, and Hypothyroidism. This spanning over years and would begin the arguous task of searching for answers. I spent most of my time running from Dr to Dr. After years of treating with a Rheumatologist in NYC she suggested I had some kind of Inflammatory Disease, as my symptoms were not all Lupus Related.
It was only until 2008 that I found out I had been living with Toxic Molds caused by the crawl space I was living above. Environmental testing found the crawl Space was full of Toxic debris and asbestos without any insulation or vapor barrier for protection. I immediately reached out to Chris DeAndrea of the NYC Dept Health, NYC Buildings Dept, The Housing preservation Department and even wrote letters to then Councilman Oddo’s office who did try to help at that time. In the end sadly my efforts to get the proper help were fruitless. I tried to have the housing complex fix and correct the issues however my Court experience ended up with me being forced to sign into a contract agreement agreeing to give me several months to vacate my home of 19 years.
After having specific blood work testing by my Infectious Disease Dr it was confirmed that my home was in fact making me ill. Needless to say at that moment I lost the life I once knew being forced to leave everything behind!
Thankfully I had friends and family who were able to help with living arrangements as I bounced around out of a suitcase. My Journey ultimately led me to South Jersey where sadly encountered more issues with Mold. I now reside with a kind friend in N. J. I was recently in South Carolina trying to get medical help and detox. However upon returning to New Jersey see how I have become Hyper Sensitive making my situation a lot worse for me. To date after thousands of dollars on supplements and various health care I am still battling with a host of Auto Immune issues numerous health problems none of which are covered by ” Environmental Physicians”.
When Super Storm Sandy Hit back in Oct of 2012 all I could think of was how Mold and Toxic waste ” Environmental Illness” would become a potential health problem for people and no one would be helping them. I was alarmed hearing how they were being told to use Bleach to kill mold. I went to Staten Island wanting to help but became extremely sick due to the air and horrified to see no one had masks on. I wrote letters to Dr Oz and called the neighboring hospitals inquiring on health issues due to Sandy. I knew that people would were sick would more likely not be told it was Environmentally related or that the cause be Toxic Mold Exposures.
That is when I decided the next best thing I could do to help people was to start an online group which I decided to title All Things Mold Environmental Discussion Group. I would share all I knew about the dangers of Toxic molds. Since then and after finding so many more people from all over the country all suffering from this dreadful sickness .. decided I would launch this Mold Foundation. There are so many people suffering alone who sadly are living in tents or cars. Most people have no help from family, and no money left for medical care. I see this as a major problem and one that will only get worse over time. We desperately need to raise awareness about this issue. The CDC and Congress must re investigate the effects of Toxic Mold and ” Environmental Illness “. Insurance Companies must help people who are faced with these issues ! More and More people pass away from 9/11 related illnesses as well. How anyone can continue to ignore these issues is beyond comprehension.
We must raise money to get temporary housing for those displaced and in need of Medical care . Mold is not taught in Medical School and finding Physicians who understand Mold Illness difficult and the few that do, do not accept insurance for treatments.
Perhaps having this Website and Foundation we will be able to finally get the Awareness and the Help we all so desperately need!