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Dana Richardson – My story began partially in 2016 when I began to have neck and back pain with hands and feet that would go numb. I was diagnosed with TMJ and went through several splint therapies, yet still had pain. In 2017 I no longer had the energy or funds to keep my business going so had to close that and took a job at a tea room while moving in with my mother to save money. I was also taking care of my father on occasion. He had recently divorced my mom after a 44 year marriage after his first brain tumor in 2014 when I moved back here from Hawaii. He lived nearby and had multiple brain surgery emergencies for tumors over the last 9 years. My back pain worsened and grew to full blown migraines and arms still were going numb and I had extreme fatigue as well. I tried several types of comfort shoes and lowering hours and could not continue the job so I had to give notice. I’ve never in my life had to leave a job due to inability to physically work which was extremely humbling. That was the last job I could work. I could not sit or stand longer than 15 minutes without my back turning to concrete – it felt like someone was winding up the back of my ribs like a torture chamber that took my breath away in pain. It took over my whole body & head into a migraine. I was sensitive to temperature especially heat and smells and clothing. I could no longer wear bras or anything restricting. I could drink 2 gallons of water a day and still feel dehydrated and my bladder was affected in many ways which I now know is common with a type of mold mycotoxin. I could no longer exercise and couldn’t come up with words mid sentence – I felt like I was in a fog. I woke up with bruises on my whole body but had not run into anything. I had a 2 full page list of symptoms I took to my doctor who dismissed them as I was under stress and probably just needed anti depressants. I couldn’t believe it! That began a 6 year fight to find a doctor or solution to help me. I filed for disability in 2017 but was denied. I was mainly bedridden for 2 years on ice packs those are the years I call my torture chamber years. I had to file bankruptcy from living off credit cards and being unable to work. No one understood what was happening – nor did I – and I lost many friends. Meanwhile, my dad continued to have brain tumor emergencies & my mother had several falls. She is well now and I’ve been living with my her the whole time since 2017 which has been stressful. She is struggling financial and may need to sell her home. From 2017-2019 she had 2 bathrooms partially remodeled. It’s possible mold was in the drains as this home was built in 1968. Prior to all this I was extremely healthy and active living in Hawaii. I even coached others to live their dreams with a business I created and the importance of a stress free life. I went from a vibrant entrepreneur in my early 30’s to gaining 10 pounds a year and feeling like I was 90 while still in my late 30’s and now mid 40’s. Now knowing I have mold Illness it’s horrendous what this disease steals from us.
I couldn’t understand what was happening and after being passed from doctor to doctor and diagnosis to diagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, myofascial syndrome, occipital neuralgia and only options given was pain medicine which I didn’t want or believe to be a solution I grew tired and began to believe that maybe stress was truly my problem and I was creating all this in myself. I succumbed to believing I would live like this forever. I honestly don’t know how I made it through the last 6 years or how anyone can live with mold Illness. It’s mind boggling and there is no support. From 2020-2022 I had 6 cases of oral thrush which I had never had in my life and all kinds of digestive issues. Doctors again said it was stress which I couldn’t understand. I also tried a special diet to lose weight and on the lowest calories my body weight would not budge! In August of 2022 a friend suggested I seek an Integrative medicine doctor. I was hesitant as the cost and I had already tried so much I didn’t want to deal with another doctor, I had mostly given up, but I thought maybe heavy metals was an issue so I borrowed the money to go. I found out I do not have heavy metals but I have extremely high mycotoxin mold levels and my MMP9 marker was off the chart high. My thyroid and testosterone are low which is very common in CIRS as well as mast cell activation which I have, leaky gut, sibo and Candida which mold also causes (hence the oral thrush phenomenon). I found out that mold imitates Lyme disease which I also have many similar symptoms; however cannot afford the Lyme test. I also have electric shocks in my rib cage that no one ever thought to look into and a growth on my abdomen which again were passed over after multiple attempts to be seen by doctors for.
I’ve learned that my symptoms are from longterm exposure and I have 1-5 years of detoxing ahead of me. There’s no way of knowing the exact timeframe as everyone’s process and colonization are different. I believe it’s possible the home I lived in hawaii for a decade (prior to CA for a year then here in AZ) had mold that I didn’t know about which stayed in me. Then when the stress of caring for my father’s brain tumors & living with my mother shut my nervous system down, the mold took over. I’ve also been exposed to another family member’s home with a water damaged roof over the last 2 years. My mother’s home where I’ve lived the last 6 years has no sight or smell of mold yet was tested positive for mold. We had it dry fogged but cannot afford to clean the hvac ducts or get the air purifiers I need. The home is still left half remodeled as there’s no money to complete it and my mom and I share one toilet as the other toilet pipe has corroded. It’s a very toxic environment both mentally and physically. All the pipes under the house have to be replaced as they are rusted and old but again there is no money which is why my mom needs to sell and downsize and will no longer have room for me. I was able to borrow money from a friend in September to start detox binders and medicine, but he can no longer help me. I have no other support from family members and no other friends to help. Most people grew tired of watching me in my pain and not understanding it. I’m on state Medicaid insurance but it does not cover any of my doctor fees or health care plan and there’s so many things I need to get well and it’s a long journey ahead. I applied for disability a second time but was told I do not qualify without the work credits needed. The state gives me $200 a month for food and no other assistance being single with no children. I’ve looked into grants, funding, charities even religious organizations and there is no help.
I am a person who gives 1,000% & believe if I had funding to get the medicine and healthcare I need then within 6 months I could hopefully be well enough to find work in some capacity to be self supporting again. I also need to find a way to get a safe mold free home to live in where I can focus on my healthcare, be free of mold, relieve the stress, and let my mother sell her home and not have me as an added burden. The base amount to have the medicine, saunas, colonics and doctor care needed is approximately $6000 monthly and that doesn’t include IV or ozone therapy or any other modalities or repeated testing that will be needed – nor does it include funds for gas, extra food and mold free housing. I’m overwhelmed with what this process takes physically as well as financially and not having money or being well enough to work is extremely frustrating. I’ve been praying for a solution and Olivia’s Malachi’s foundation is a light in the dark. I pray that whoever reads this & may have funds to help me, please know from the bottom of my heart I will be forever grateful and will repay the gesture to someone else in need when I am able. Thank you very much for your time in reading my story and consideration to help. God bless, Dana Richardson
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