A Safe Home in A Safe Place

I’d like to tell you about my dear friend, Kelli Todaro.  Kelli has been sick for over 16 years now. Kelli’s chronic illness includes multiple diagnoses including Mast Cell disease, Mitochondrial disease, Lyme disease and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, to name a few.  This means that not only does she react to your typical allergens such as pollen, mold, smoke, foods, pet dander, dust, etc, but she is also allergic to effectively everything in modern life including chemicals, cleaners, scented laundry detergent, building materials, carpet, paint, glue, air fresheners, plug-ins, etc.  Kelli’s reactions to these things are often anaphylactic in nature (difficulty breathing, airways closing) but also often include an inability to move, migraines, crippling dizziness, and trouble speaking.

Prior to Hurricane Harvey, Kelli’s home was her safe haven. Kelli and her husband Michael, were able to make their home completely scent free and chemical free which allowed her to function as a home-maker and mother to her two children, Emma (5) and Ezra (1).  Even those who visited the Todaro home had to make certain lifestyle changes (use only scent free laundry detergent and scent free hair and skin products) in order to keep the Todaro home safe for Kelli.

In the days following Hurricane Harvey, the Todaro’s found a damaged baseboard in their daughter’s room and mold in their home.  While the amount of mold in their wall may not trouble the average family, it has been truly catastrophic for the Todaro family. For someone like Kelli, the remediation of mold is vastly more complicated and there is simply no safe place for her to go while it is being done.  She is currently living in her parent’s minivan during the daytime and she goes into her home at night to sleep. While in the house, she is often on oxygen and is isolated to one room where there is a powerful air filter.

In addition to needing a temporary place to stay while their home is being fixed, Texas is simply not the best place for Kelli to live long term.  The environmental allergens alone prevent her from being outside. If Kelli could get to a place with fewer outside allergens, she would actually be able to play outside with her children (something she has never been able to do in Texas). Because of Kelli’s complicated health concerns, there are also only a handful of doctors in the United States that are qualified to treat people like her, and those require travelling to other states (California and Colorado, for example).  In order to get Kelli out of her environment (both her home and the Texas environment), the Todaro’s most immediate need is a large, safe, livable vehicle- to live in during remediation and also for traveling the country to find where Kelli could best thrive. In the long run, they will also most likely need to buy land and build a modest home, built with completely “safe” and “chemical free” materials. The kind of vehicle and long term home Kelli needs are both hard to find and expensive.

In many ways, the Todaro’s situation feels impossible.  If you’re reading this story, we ask that you would first PRAY that God would provide for them in a BIG way.  Secondly, please consider giving to this sweet family to help them purchase a vehicle and/or create a home that will be safe for Kelli long-term. Thank you for your willingness to hear their story and your consideration to help!


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Organizer and beneficiary

Michelle 'Axe' Erard 
Salt Lake City, UT
Kelli Todaro 
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