Hello, my name is Sara Mathews, and I currently reside in Steubenville, OH, but am originally from Vernon, NY and am a long time friend of Katie Williams. I am organizing this campaign for Katie and her two children, Lyric and Declan. It's been a long year for the three of them, as she has been extremely sick since January of this year.
For the past few years, Katie has sporadically come down with fairly minor illnesses, like pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis, and was also misdiagnosed with asthma. However, as of the last couple of months, after seeing countless doctors, she is finally starting to get an explanation for these frequent pulmonary issues, and is going to need some help.
In order to understand the extent of her need, an explanation of past events will be helpful.
In 2013, while 9 months pregnant with Declan, Katie and Lyric, moved into an apartment in Vernon, NY. Her and her children were otherwise healthy and had no major health issues to speak of prior to 2013. Since then, there were multiple times when she noticed black spots on the walls in both her living room and her bathroom. Having notified the apartments management of the issue, the "harmless mildew" was scraped off and the areas were re-painted (multiple times). Time passed and these illnesses started popping up, in both her and her kids (Declan and Katie being impacted the most). As January of 2018 approached, her health significantly deteriorated; she was in and out of doctors offices, urgent cares and ER's, unable to catch her breath or do any of her normal day- to-day activities. After trying the usual go-to, of steroids and antibiotics, with no improvement of her symptoms, a CT scan was finally ordered. Some "worrisome abnormalities" were seen and her primary care doctor referred her to a pulmonologist. Katie's symptoms were boggling for the doctors at first, as every time they checked her oxygen level, it was 100%. However, they realized her oxygen level was dangerously low while walking and with any activity. They immediately put her on oxygen to be used at all times and prescribed multiple medications, in hopes of healing her lungs. With no improvement, by February, she was sent to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, and a bronchoscopy and lung biopsy were ordered. While this was going on, her sister Becca, again noticed a black spot on the wall in her living room; they finally hired someone to come in and do an inspection. Within days, Katie was informed that multiple health hazardous molds were found in her apartment and they needed to vacate immediately, leaving all contaminated belongings behind. At that point, Katie's health was at an all time low and her doctor took her out of work.
After spending a few weeks in a local hotel, a few very generous individuals offered to house them until they had a better idea of what the future held. They have been living in transition ever since, with only the money that was left over from Katie's tax return and donated and borrowed money (also from many kindhearted and generous people!). Although Katie no longer needs oxygen, her health issues are still preventing her from working. As a single mom of two, this has become an extremely difficult situation. She in in the process of applying for disability, however between all the doctors appointments for her and her children, the unpredictability of her health and waiting on an official diagnosis from two different specialists , they are running out of funds to cover medical bills and even the basic necessities. Thankfully, the two doctors she found, that have given her some answers, both specialize in environmental illnesses; one has an office in Albany and the other is based out of NYC at Mount Sinai Hospital. The doctor in Albany does not accept health insurance for payment and both have been exceptionally expensive, particularly in regards to travel to and from. These particular doctors are necessary however, as Katie found out, the local doctors in the Central NY area are not very familiar with the types of testing and treatment needed in her particular kind of lung disease. At this point, they are waiting to hear an official diagnosis, but the doctors are fairly certain Katie has what's called hypersensitivity pneumonitis from prolonged exposure to mold. The damage that was done could most likely have been reversed early on, however with the extended time that Katie and her kids were living amidst this mold, how poorly she's been responding to the treatment, and the results of the testing so far, it's looking more and more like her lungs have permanent scarring. She will have more definite answers on prognosis and a plan in early to mid-September, when she has more testing done.
So, to sum things up - the money donated to Katie, will go primarily toward medical expenses that have been accumulating and basic living expenses. We realize that many people have already been extremely generous in helping Katie and she is so beyond thankful! But unfortunately no one could have predicted how extensive this ordeal was going to be and this mold saga and it's aftermath continues, so any help would be greatly appreciated! In addition to this, Katie would welcome any and all prayers in regards to her and her kids situation. It's been very hard emotionally and spiritually on the three of them, and although they remain reliant on the Lord and His abundant mercy, they still struggle daily with trying to hold out hope and remain positive.
Thank you so much!
*Note - If you are hesitant to donate to a third party site, like go fund me, you can donate to Katie directly, in person, by mail or at:
Feel free to call or send me a message on Facebook for Katie's contact information.
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