Introduction by friend Wendy:
As a senior citizen, Susy has faced her fair share of struggles, but her latest predicament has left her in a desperate situation. Susy's life was once vibrant having performed as a professional musician and also having a successful jewelry business. Susy has severe multiple chemical sensitivities, which means that she is highly sensitive to everyday chemicals found in most homes and buildings. This makes it impossible for her to live in a regular apartment or house, and she is now facing homelessness, after a current hospitalization, during one of the coldest Canadian winters on record.
For Susy, finding safe housing is a matter of life and death. With nowhere else to turn, she has applied for Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) as a last resort. However, we believe that with the help of the community, we can prevent Susy from having to make such a drastic decision.
We are reaching out to you today to ask for your support in raising funds to help Susy find a single-family fully detached MCS safe home. This type of housing is the only option for Susy, as it will provide her with the necessary isolation from everyday chemicals that she needs to survive.
The cost of renting a single-family fully detached home in Canada can be quite high, and Susy is on a fixed income. This is why we are turning to the generosity of others to help her raise the funds necessary to make this dream a reality.
We understand that the past year has been difficult for many, and we are grateful for any amount you can contribute. Every donation, no matter how small, will bring us one step closer to helping Susy find the safe and secure housing she needs. In addition to financial contributions, we are also asking for your help in spreading the word about Susy's situation. If you know of any single-family fully detached homes on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia that may be suitable for Susy, please let us know.
Please consider making a donation to Susy's GoFundMe campaign today. Your generosity will help ensure that Susy has a place to call home and that she can continue to live her life with dignity and independence.
Thank you for your support, and please share Susy's story with your friends and family. Together, we can make a difference in Susy's life and help her find the safe and secure housing she needs.
IN SUSY'S OWN WORDS:
I find myself in a situation I honestly never thought could happen.
Living with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities - Environmental Sensitivities and Chemical Injury has always been difficult, and at times more than I thought I could cope with, but somehow I continued being creative with my online jewelry shop, communicating with family and friends online, and sharing a home with my adult son who cared for me and did so much to help me survive the numerous and daily exposures.
In the 12 years I have been housebound we've shared 3 houses and 1 apartment. Finding a safe, affordable place to live has been impossible, and I've experienced major declines in my health and abilities as a result.
Last year I had to quit working as I was weakened from the daily struggle. It was difficult financially but I had no choice.
Summer brought with it a terrible heat wave, which weakened me further as I cannot tolerate heat.
We installed a new portable air conditioner as my old one (one I had for 5 years and tolerated fairly well) was no longer working. I reacted badly to the new one but had no choice as the heat was unbearable.
Living with that constant exposure heightened my already out of control sensitivity to pretty much everything.
Early winter came as a surprise and I had not processed clothing in time (I tried but nothing worked as my intolerance to chemicals used in fabrics had become overwhelming). There I was in the cold with heaters I did not tolerate well and no clothing. I was completely naked with only 1 duvet, no sheets and no pillow cases.
The house I was living in had shifted and was allowing dust, smoke and car fumes in which were impossible for my body to deal with, and I developed burning tongue syndrome to the point of unrelenting pain. I could not continue being in that house.
There was no place to go for relief. I was distraught and emotionally in a crisis. My children feared I would harm myself, and I was taken to the hospital.
I have been here for a month. The first 3 weeks were terrible with nurses not following the hospital’s no fragrance policy. I was on a regular ward and in a room with so much plastic and medical equipment, I was never not in an exposure of some sort.
The decision was made to send me to the psych ward.
I was terrified, but to my surprise the nurses here are very aware of the fragrance policy and I have not had a fragrance exposure. With no smoke, car fumes, dust, and no housekeeping allowed in my room, and an agreement that the nurses and doctors do not enter the room without my permission, my mouth has settled and the pain is gone.
When I first fled from the house, I'd put on clothing that was hurting me, but after about 4 days in hospital the clothing off gassed enough for me to be comfortable.
I am still in the same clothing as attempts my family have made to get me other clothing processed have failed. This is a common experience for people with MCS, as fabrics have a lot of chemicals our bodies do not tolerate, and many are difficult to wash out.
My son has had to leave the house we were in, and moved into a trailer on my daughters property. It is not a place that is chemically safe for me so unfortunately I cannot live there.
This means I am now homeless, with no place that is medically safe for me to go when I have to leave the hospital.
I have applied for MAID, and they are going through the process, which takes 3-6 months, because of the category I fall under.
There are 2 categories for MAiD in Canada.
One being for the terminally ill who are going to die, and the second one, the one that I qualify for, is having an illness that there is no treatment for and not being able to endure the many aspects of that illness, like the resulting pain and other severe symptoms of not having access to the supports that would help make life bearable.
If I can find safe housing (which is near impossible with the limited finances I have) I would not need to go through with MAID, as my life would be tolerable.
I support euthanasia for those who are suffering intolerably but it breaks my heart when the reason is a housing issue.
In my case it is definitely a matter of housing.
Our government has not allocated funds for any research on multiple chemical sensitivity in decades, nor have they made any effort to create safe medically required housing for the needs of those suffering this horrific, disabling illness.
I have been in a room in the hospital that is the safest place I have been since I was housebound 12 years ago.
Here I have not had any exposure to fragrance, smoke, car fumes etc.
Where can I access housing that is exposure free like this?
My mouth is healing, I am getting stronger every day, and if I could live in an environment like this I could work at home again, and return to playing the flute. I was a professional musician and gave that up when I became ill as I had no strength.
It is unlikely I will succeed in finding this safety, but I have no choice but to leave here soon, as the hospital will only keep me for a limited amount of time.
The only option currently offered and available to me is a government sponsored apartment.
Apartment living means constantly being exposed to neighbours' product choices and other activities that affect my air quality in ways that disable me.
We “ share the air” is especially true in multi-unit buildings.
The one apartment I've lived in led to me having a painful and frightening health crisis, and I am unable to endure a repeat experience of that.
Without the ability to control exposures to outdoor and indoor pollutants, my body experiences unbearable pain and suffering.
I need a small house away from heavy traffic and wood burning of any kind, a house built with solid construction, and off gassed from newer building materials, without residues from air 'fresheners' and the like. Good windows are very important as this is how most pollution enters.
This is a tall order and I don’t have the resources to make this happen, without help, and the social safety net doesn't exist for people like me.
After the MAiD processing is done, and if I am accepted and receive a date for euthanasia, I will decide yea or nay based on my living situation and state of health. Unfortunately, it all depends on if I can access medically required, safe, accessible housing.
To learn more about Multiple Chemical Sensitivities: