Kelly Curry is a longtime peace activist, food justice educator, writer, leader, and originator of The Electric Smoothie Lab Apothecary. For the last decade she’s been devoting her life and livelihood to the people of Oakland, blending and giving away smoothies, fighting for youth and others in need. Now, she needs our help as she battles a long-term health crisis.
When Kelly was a child, like so many children, she went to the doctor with a skin irritation, or eczema. She was prescribed a topical steroid, which stops the irritation but over time, her body became addicted to it. The long-term risks of taking these steroids are not well publicized, although they are severe.
Last fall, in 2021, Kelly decided to stop taking her topical steroids, starting a long process of detoxification. This has rendered her unable to work, to use the computer, or even walk at times. It’s hard to describe just how debilitating it is for her skin to be in the condition it’s in. A year later, the chronic pain continues to affect her energy, appetite, and other abilities. It causes swelling in her hands and ankles making it painful to stand or walk or type or even hold a phone.
She is taking natural pain medication in the form of herbal salve, or lotion, which is costly over time. She hasn’t been able to work consistently, or hustle like she normally would, and needs our support to get through what could be a 1-2 year ordeal.
Kelly has spent her career fighting for her community – whether in Oakland, or before that, in Chicago and New York. She’s been to the southern border to support the children caught up in the border crisis, and she’s blended smoothies on street corners in East and West Oakland. Now we’re asking her community to support her through this deeply challenging time.
Please give what you can and spread the word to help Kelly with the resources needed for her medicine, food, and housing.
All of us rooting for Kelly’s healing
Message From Kelly
For some of us it has been so long. I am grateful for this opportunity to connect. I'm going through a serious health challenge, and being able to connect with you here is refreshing and a blessing.
About a year ago, I was struck down with a mysterious catastrophic illness that pretty much put me on the sidelines of life. It turned out to be Topical Steroid Withdrawal. Check out Dr. Rapaport and his short film, Skin on Fire, below:
I could still do the things I had to do to keep things going, like work and projects, but I couldn't create more energy for my own inner healing because I was broken. Ten years of hard-core activism in Oakland on the front lines had given me a lot but also, unfortunately, depleted much of my life force. So now, I'm asking for your help since topical steroid withdrawal has pretty much sealed the deal and resulted in symptoms that make it very challenging to leave the house.
It's so hard to share this as it's personal, and many people withdrew from my life when they realized how unwell I was, so it has become a shameful reality. I will work on that and pray because I know I've done nothing wrong, but I must take the time to heal.
I want to thank my local community for giving me so much solid support. Now, I'm reaching out beyond my local community because this is going to go on for a bit longer, and I could use the support. I can't believe how hard it is to ask for help, but like my PoP used to say, "It's always great to give people an opportunity to participate by contributing."
Thank you so much for reading this. I'll be posting updates through this forum and the LotsAHelpingHands website that has been created.
I love you.