Help Fi Be Chem-Free

$16,354 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 23 months
I need your support to acquire a chemical-free home and pay for legal fees following a workplace incident.

In 2012 I was pursuing careers in the arts and education. I had recorded and released several albums of my own songs, sold my first novella to a pro-level publisher, and was preparing to start an MFA program that would enable me to take my writing and teaching career to the next level.

Then a chemical exposure at my day job left me with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS). I became unable to work and have lost my home and savings while fighting for compensation and learning to manage these chronic and incurable conditions. The legal fees for the compensation battle have totalled over $35,000 so far and continue to add up. In addition to that expense, I now need special transportation and housing to accommodate my health conditions. I’ve had to buy a car and a walker to get to medical appointments and take care of necessities. CFS keeps me housebound much of the time, but new materials, carpets, paint, particleboard, melamine, and other substances found in most living environments worsen my MCS symptoms; consequently, I’ve had to move 9 times in the past 4 years. I now rent a basement apartment and must keep my windows closed to avoid cleaning chemicals, perfumes, cigarette smoke, exhaust, and paint, laundry and other fumes from neighbours. Living this way is stressful, harmful, and ultimately, unsustainable.

MCS and CFS are severely debilitating and wreak havoc on people’s lives, but I am determined to rebuild mine. Those who know me know that I’m up for a challenge. I’ve always prided myself on being independent, but since all this began I’ve learned that I can’t do this alone. I need your help. In order to continue pursuing compensation and acquire appropriate housing, I need to raise at least $50,000. That’s a big ask, I know. But if everyone donates something—anything—and passes this information on to others, I believe it can happen. 

We all need a safe place where we can breathe. Because of a workplace incident, I have lost that. Your donation will help provide me with resources to continue pursuing compensation, a secure and healthy haven in a chemically-saturated world, and a foundation upon which I can rebuild and live the best life possible with CFS and MCS, and eventually help others with these conditions.

Although I think of myself as a writer, I find it near impossible to express how much your support means to me. I give you whole bunches of thanks, a standing (chem-free! :-) invitation to visit my future home, and my deepest gratitude, Fiona
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Update 7
Posted by Fiona Lehn
14 months ago
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Update 7: November 22, 2017

Hi everyone, This time of year always reminds me of all I’m grateful for, and your support of this campaign is at the top of my list. Thank you all for continuing to spread the word and send messages of support. Lately, I’ve been struggling a lot with my cognitive and physical limitations, which is why you haven’t received an update from me. That's life with CFS. But I’m still here, even if I can't update regularly, and in the months since my last update, miraculous things have happened, all because of you!

Since last writing, I’ve received several more offline donations, which have brought our total funds raised to a walloping $16,354 to date!

We are only $646 away from reaching 1/3 of our goal! I am incredibly grateful for all you have done to make this happen in such a short amount of time.

Also since last writing...my time at this temporary chem-free living space is coming to an end, so I am once again in search of chem-free housing. And my workers comp appeal stalled for a couple months, but now is moving forward again (and landed me with another lawyer bill). Thus the fundraiser continues!

As I mentioned earlier, my updates are coming less frequently because I’m struggling to manage this campaign and my daily living needs like cooking and cleaning, but I’m here, and your support is buoying me through, and I will update you whenever I can.

For more info, please see my earlier updates:
Update 1: What are Multiple Chemical Sensitivities?
Update 2: Invisible Illnesses and How They Can Make You Feel Invisible.
Update 3: If You Had Only 3 Hours a Day: What Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Really Looks Like.

Thanks, as always, to everyone for donating and for continuing to share info about this fundraiser. None of this would be happening without you! Your love and support continue to give me hope. Fiona
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Update 6
Posted by Fiona Lehn
18 months ago
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Hi everyone, It's been months since my last update, I know. I had a big crash and it took over 8 weeks to recover. That's life with CFS. But as I said, I'm still here, even if I can't update regularly, and I'm grateful for all your support.

Since last writing, someone has given me a chem-free place to live for a few months, which is showing me what life will be like once I have my own permanent chem-free place in the future. This gift is only for a few months, but I'm relishing the health rewards while I can.

Also on the good news front, my workers comp appeal has moved forward an incremental step. It also landed me with a $2000 lawyer bill. So, we're moving forward, the bills continue mounting, and I still need permanent chem-free housing. Thus the fundraiser continues!

As I mentioned earlier, my updates are coming less frequently because I’m struggling to manage this campaign and my daily living needs like cooking and cleaning, but I’m here, and your support is buoying me through, and I will update you whenever I can.

For more info, please see my earlier updates:
Update 1: What are Multiple Chemical Sensitivities?
Update 2: Invisible Illnesses and How They Can Make You Feel Invisible.
Update 3: If You Had Only 3 Hours a Day: What Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Really Looks Like.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who has been helping me with this campaign. None of this would be happening without you! And thanks again to everyone for donating and for continuing to share info about this fundraiser. I appreciate your love and support. Best, Fiona
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Update 5
Posted by Fiona Lehn
21 months ago
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HELP FI BE CHEM-FREE – UPDATE 5:

My Workers Compensation appeal required that I attend a 3-hour-long meeting 2 weeks ago, an ordeal that incited a major CFS crash that has forced me to be in bed all day everyday since then, unable to do much of anything, including updating you on this campaign. There is not much to do with a crash that severe but surrender to it—rest intensively for days and weeks until the pain and other symptoms begin to subside.

Said symptoms are decreasing a wee bit here at the two-week mark, and I’m starting to get short spurts of brain power back, for 2 to 5 minutes or so, in between long rest periods. I still have to do intensive rest almost all day and will have to continue with that for another 2-4 weeks in order to get out of this crash and back up to my usual 30% of normal energy/function. Such is life with CFS! (To give you an example, this update was pieced together from 5-minute-long scribble sessions over the span of several days. CFS is nothing if not slow and tedious, eh?)

Thanks to all your work sharing this campaign with friends and making donations, you’ve raised $1860 in six weeks. THANK YOU. Your donations and your wonderful messages mean more to me than I can say. Please keep sharing the campaign and these updates with friends—even $5 will make a difference!

As I mentioned earlier, my updates are coming less frequently because I’m struggling to manage this campaign and my daily living needs like cooking and cleaning, but I’m here, and your support is buoying me through, and I will update you whenever I can.

For more info, please see my earlier updates:
Update 1: What are Multiple Chemical Sensitivities?
Update 2: Invisible Illnesses and How They Can Make You Feel Invisible.
Update 3: If You Had Only 3 Hours a Day: What Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Really Looks Like.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who has been helping me with this campaign. None of this would be happening without you! And thanks again to everyone for donating and for continuing to share info about this fundraiser. I appreciate your love and support. Best, Fiona
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Update 4
Posted by Fiona Lehn
21 months ago
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HELP FI BE CHEM-FREE – UPDATE 4:

Thanks to everyone who has donated and shared info about this fundraiser. You’ve helped raise $1,780 in the first month, which has allowed me to pay an instalment to the lawyer and continue the fight for compensation a while longer. THANK YOU! Your donations and your wonderful messages mean more to me than I can say. Please keep sharing the campaign and these updates with friends—even $5 will make a difference!

I had hoped to update you weekly but my updates are coming less frequently because I’m struggling to manage this campaign and my daily living needs like cooking and cleaning. But I’m here, and your support is buoying me through, and I will update you whenever I can.

For more info, please see my earlier updates:

Update 1: What are Multiple Chemical Sensitivities?

Update 2: Invisible Illnesses and How They Can Make You Feel Invisible.

Update 3: If You Had Only 3 Hours a Day: What Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Really Looks Like.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who has been helping me with this campaign. None of this would be happening without you! And thanks again to everyone for donating and for continuing to share info about this fundraiser. I appreciate your love and support. Best, Fiona
resting (we do this a lot :-)
Cat is not into selfies...
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Read a Previous Update
Emily Swartz
22 months ago

Thinking of you often, Fiona. I wish I could make your pain go away.

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$16,354 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 39 people in 23 months
Created March 2, 2017
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VA
$13,669
Various Anonymous
14 months ago (Offline Donation)

This amount is made up of several offline donations from anonymous donors. Thank you!!

$200
Sun Ray
18 months ago

Very sorry Fiona, I just saw that bad thing happened to you, I am very sad. I know it's a bit late But I still hope can give you a little bit helps, and I hope can help you more.

PL
$50
Paula L.
20 months ago (Offline Donation)
$500
Anonymous
20 months ago (Offline Donation)
KL
$50
Kat Lee
21 months ago

Hi Fiona, so sorry it took me so long to donate! Hope this little bit will help you go a long way. ;)

PF
$25
Paula Frechen
21 months ago

Good luck.

RB
$30
Rachel Burns
21 months ago

Sending all of my good thoughts and wishes to you Fiona. <3

$50
Shane Collins
21 months ago
GM
$100
G D McAnally
22 months ago
$100
Anonymous
22 months ago
Emily Swartz
22 months ago

Thinking of you often, Fiona. I wish I could make your pain go away.

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