Save Our Home

Backstory : I have started to write my story so many times, but worried about it not being worthy of the support of all those great people who donate on the Go Fund Me site. However, as despair and desperation have taken hold, I feel that I just need to put it out there, and pray that those of you reading will understand my plight and find it in your hearts to help.
These are our dogs, Zola, Basil and Bramble, all rescue animals, who share a home with me and my three children. We lived what was an almost idyllic life, our home in the country where we rescued animals and shared with anyone who cared to visit. We are surrounded by the most beautiful unspoilt landscape, where wildlife is abundant and free. I delight in sharing this with anyone who cares to visit. I love meeting people and I am someone who delights in helping others, especially by linking people up with others who may be of help to them. I have always had a ‘pay it forward’ attitude to life, and I hope I have instilled this in my children. Now more than ever, I am hoping that this will help me in my quest. I find it difficult to ask, having always been the help giver, but as of three years ago, our lives took a horrible turn which now leads me to write our story. It started in the most common of ways, my husband left us for someone else, and in the process took all of our money and security with him. I have been involved in protracted legal battles ever since to try to get even the most basic of help. Our world fell apart, and to add insult to injury, I became seriously ill with a life threatening condition. I was admitted to hospital, where I remained for three months and there were no guarantees that I was coming home. My children were in disarray, their lives which had been those of normal childhood, were suddenly dark and insecure. I survived that illness and came home to a very difficult situation, while still being attached to a machine for twenty hours a day which delivered drugs and food to my body. I was to have this attachment for a full year. I found out that our mortgage was not being paid, and I had to use all of my savings to keep up payments as well as support my children. It was not long before the money ran rout. My son had just begun studying for a degree in mechanical engineering, but dropped out due to the dire situation at home. He got a job with an engineering firm, and was so happy to be doing something practical. However, three months in, there was an accident at work. A sheet of steel fell on his right(dominant) hand and amputated all of his fingers. There followed major surgery and then the most horrible period of rehab. More than two years down the line, he is still suffering.
My own medical condition worsened again and I ended up in the ICU, and this time things were a lot more serious. Plans were having to be made around the fact that I would most likely not be coming home again.
During this time, just over a year ago, our mortgage company began to pressurise me into making the mortgage payments on our home, yes, even while I was in the ICU.
I managed to survive this latest illness thanks to the brilliant doctors and nurses and am on a chemotherapy drug which I will take for the rest of my life. When I came home from hospital, I began to see what I could do to save our home, as well as provide the love and support my children needed. They had been looked after by my family members, and friends had helped out with things like buying food, paying for heating fuel and also helping me with the driving to rehab for my son, and even for myself. I have been so fortunate in the friends and acquaintances who rallied round to support us, and this includes those who are helping me with all of the legal stuff I have had to go through, which has been paid for with a government funded Legal Aid. I would have preferred though never to have found myself in this position at all.
Today : I am doing much better medically right now, and my son, while having had a difficult time recently, is on the mend. My daughter who went to university in London though has had to drop out due to economic pressures, although I hope this will not always be the case and my youngest child has been struggling with her emotional and mental health. Three weeks before Christmas, I was devastated to be served with an eviction notice, my husband having instructed the mortgage company to take our home. I was shocked to find that all of the negotiating I had been doing was for nothing and just last week I had to attend a hearing in the High Court as the mortgage company want the keys to our home. I could go into detailing all of the horrors that have brought us to this point, but the crux of the matter is, I need to raise money to prevent my children and me losing our home. My youngest child is quite literally sick with despair, her main worry being the animals we keep here as pets, and that is understandable for a twelve year old who shares her sister’s passion for animal welfare.
I have always had a plan in place for my and my children’s future since my husband left. I knew that I could share my home with others, to provide support in times of need and safe haven. I have been doing this all of my life and believe that I can make a future out of it by allowing professionals to use my location to help those who have been experiencing difficulties in life. I have already got a list of people standing by, waiting to see how things go before we set up our healing retreat. I do not intend to restrict this aid to humans either, we have been helping those less fortunate in the animal world as well, and I have found that the combination helps everyone involved. The plan is that those who can afford to will make donations and this will in turn help to fund those in need who cannot.
This might all sound like an unrealistic venture, but quite frankly, our home is all we have left. My children and I are desperate to hold on to it, we cannot afford to lose it nor can we afford to move elsewhere. The legal system here is such that when it might work for me, it moves at a glacial pace, but when it works against me, it moves at the speed of light!
The Case : The outcome of the hearing in the High Court was that I have to pay £17,500 by 9th March 2018 to remove the arrears, which will also remove the immediate threat of eviction. I then must go on to find £180k to buy our home. When I came out of that court room last week, it was with the knowledge that I have five weeks to find a way to save my home, and that I am on my own in this particular battle. I am not doing this for me. I am doing it for my children and also our animal friends. Due to my health condition, I cannot get medical or life insurance. I have no savings left, I have nothing to leave to my children when I die except the wonderful memories we have shared. For most this would be enough, but for me, I feel so strongly that my children have been made to suffer enough and I am just a mother who is desperately trying to preserve a home for my family and provide security for my son and my two daughters, whom I love with all of my heart. My son is doing everything he can to help, but I am so sad that he has had to take on the responsibilities left behind by his father. My elder daughter is now working like crazy to earn the money to pay her bills and honour her commitments from leaving her university course early and my youngest daughter cannot even find a way to move forward and enjoy what is left of her childhood because of the strain of worry and despair.
The date of the 9th March is looming large, and I appeal to you to please help us save our home, so that we may live our lives well by helping others to find a better way to enjoy life, which is precious. I have been a donor to Go Fund Me campaigns in the past, and never dreamed that one day I would be seeking your help, but when despair comes to visit, a mother has to fight her way forward and do whatever it takes to protect those she loves. I hope that you can find it in your hearts to help. I will be keeping you updated as we go along, and I really hope that one day, those of you who would like to, will come and spend time with us here, and come to understand the magic of this healing place we call home.
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Catherine McMinn 
Derry, NIR