Help My Mom Get Better

That's a photo of my mom, Teala Smith, and my sister, Alegria, before our lives fell apart.

My mother has always looked on the bright side of life, always had a smile on her face and a kind word for anyone.  She was a clown, a gardener, and an avid volunteer. It pains me to see her reduced to a life of pain and fear.  As a family, we've never had much, but we made the best of it.  Now that she can hardly walk, let alone work, our life is falling apart and the smiles are gone.

It all started in November, when my mother started to have strange joint and muscle pain and weakness.  This got worse and worse until one night she was volunteering to paint faces at a fund raiser for the local food bank and the muscles in her right arm stopped working for twelve hours.  The next day she finally scheduled an appointment with the doctor.  Three weeks later she found out she had rheumatoid arthritis.  Being unable to continue her job in social work, she went on disability, which wasn't enough to live on.  In June she seemed to be getting better and my mother tried to go back to work part time, even though it meant losing her health insurance.  Even the part time has been too difficult and she's worse than ever.  Just this last Monday her doctor told her she had to quit working, even part time, until she had her symptoms under control. On top of that, going back to work messed up her disability payments, and she hasn't gotten one in over a month.
 
Money shouldn't be important, but it is.  The reasons we need more, if not much, are simple.  For one, medical expenses.  The doctor is expensive, the suppliments and therapy are expensive, medicine is expensive.  If you don't have enough money you go without, and my mother will always put our needs before her own.  Food before her well being.  Not only that, but she also has to pay the rent and the bills, and right now she can't do either.  It isn't easy being a single mom with two children and almost no income.

This disease, this rheumatoid arthritis, does not just affect my mother, but also my six year old sister and me. I HATE IT.  This feeling of helplessness, of watching her in pain and sobbing and not being able to do anything but comfort her.  Lately, I haven't even been able to do that.  What do I say?  That everything's okay?  That everything will get better?  It's not and it doesn't- I'm not sure it ever will. All I can do is watch helplessly and fear that things won't get better.  And my little sister, who is too young to understand, doesn't know how much it hurts when we go to the store and she asks if she can have something that we can't buy, which is almost always, or wants to go see a movie that her friends all talk about.  I want it to end.  I can't stand it anymore.

I'm not asking for much.  I just want my mom to get better and not have so much to worry about for a change.   I don't even know really how to ask for money.  I'm just scared and tired of our lives getting worse and worse with no solution or hope.  And I think my mom is pretty scared too.  So please, if you can find it in your heart to help us, it would mean the world to me and my family. We don't need much, but it wouldn't be a bad thing if our lives took a turn for the better. After all that's happened, I just want things to not be terrible anymore~ for my mom and for my sister and I.
I miss seeing my mother's smile, and I miss her taking care of us, instead of us taking care of her.  She has always tried to make life better for others.   I love my mom and want to help her, and this is the only way I know.  Thank you for caring. 
Thank you,
Esperanza Smith

Hi,
This is Esperanza's mom.  My name is Teala.  I'm 42 years old, but I feel like I'm 80.  I have a whole new perspective on what the eldery endure.  I am so proud of Esperanza for doing this for us.  Like most teenagers, she is much more computer/internet savvy than her mother, and believes in this campaign and that it will change our lives.  She asked me how much money we need for our lives to get better.  It breaks my heart that she even has to think about things like this, but my Rheumatoid arthritis affects us all.

Here I have included an idea of how your donations would improve our lives:
$1800 would pay the past due rent (June and July), bills, and childcare.
$4500 would do that, plus we could get a reliable car.
$15,000 would do those things, plus cover basic living expenses and medical expenses for six months living frugally so that I can stop trying to return work and instead focus on healing and stabilizing my rheumatoid arthritis.
$30,000 would provide the above, but living more comfortably (maybe go see a movie or eat out once in a while), and let me try some more aggressive medical treatments. 

Of course, I don't expect to reach the big goals, but I teach my girls to think big and to look at the overall picture.  My main goal is to get my body functioning and healthy again so that I can pursue the work I did before going into social work, which is children's entertainment.  I love being a clown and making balloons and painting faces.  It brings joy and happiness, and is not a high stress experience.  I understand now that I have to dedicate my time and energy to something healthy like that to take care of myself so that I can take care of my family.

I understand that this disease can be put into remission, but stress seems to be one of the major causes / triggers.  Right now, the fear of homelessness, and the overall stress of our financial situation, is only accelerating my decline.  Please consider supporting and sharing this campaign.  I want to give my daughters the best of me.
Thank you,

Teala Smith
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Organizer

Esperanza Ash Smith 
Organizer
Tucson, AZ
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