A Van For Matt's Road to Recovery

Hello, my name is Matt Walsh. I am 47 years old. I live at either at my sister’s flat in Sydney or my brother-in-law’s house in Jervis Bay, NSW.

I used to be a software technical architect working in Sydney and travelling widely. I had an active social life, enjoyed cross-fit, surfing, archery and fishing. I didn’t really appreciate how good my life was.

In 2011, I fell ill with what seemed to be the flu. Months later, after being unable to shake extreme fatigue, mental confusion, disorientation, loss of memory and random physical aches and pains I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.

I have been chronically ill ever since, working only intermittently when I’ve been able to. I have spent much time and money doing extensive research and undergoing more tests than you can imagine to work out what triggered my illness or what could help me get better.

Just prior to Christmas last year (2017) my health took another nose-dive. I lost 15kg over 2 months, developed a stutter, could not speak coherently, had extreme gut pain, numbness and pins and needles in my hands and feet as well as heart palpitations and chest pain. I also had strong anaphylactic like reactions to almost all food, heat and sunlight. Further tests showed extreme brain, gut and systemic inflammation. My immunologist who is an inflammation specialist said ECG looked like someone with Alzheimer’s. Things have been so bad that I have been unable to keep in touch with a lot of my friends, I have been non-functional in terms of interacting with the world.

Thankfully, just after Christmas I was introduced to the first doctor the last 7 years who has been able to provide a fuller diagnosis and work with me to devise a plan that can help me get better.

Biotoxin exposure (mould) is likely to have started the illness and since then, further exposure to mould and various chemicals exacerbates it, triggering systemic inflammation and all the subsequent symptoms. I have been clinically diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome(CFS), Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Chronic Inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS), I have a small brain aneurism that may be contributing to the problem. Probably due to all the inflammation I have severely altered mental state including loss of cognition, severe depression, mood swings, anxiety attacks and badly compromised memory function.

It is unlikely that I will be able to return to work or a normal life in the next couple of years.

This brings me to why I need your help. I have always valued my independence, and it is difficult to ask others for assistance but my 7 year journey has emptied my bank account completely. I finally have an understanding of what I can do to get better, but I no longer have the funds to make it happen.

I need to be able to control my environment and create a space that is free from mould and all the other factors and chemicals that are making me unwell. This means no petro-chemical based products or things that produce large amounts of Volatile organic compounds (found in most furniture, paint, building materials etc.).

Living with my sister or my brother-in-law is great, however, both their places are older and contain mould and paints that triggers my symptoms, especially after rains and in damp conditions. Most nights I have to sleep outside in a tent/hammock combination to ease the symptoms. This is becoming harder as the weather is turning cold.

A safe space will give my body and mind a break and a chance to heal - I need to create a space to live in that’s free of all the factors that contribute to the inflammation symptoms and that stop my body from being able to heal.   

I have bought a budget van to convert into a mobile living space, as it is the most cost-effective approach and will allow me to change my location when the weather changes.

I have stripped it down to the bare metal and had my sister help me to clean it using non-chemical methods. The next step is to fit it out with materials that are safe for my condition.  For this I am looking to raise $30,000.

If you want further information about the plans, fit out or my condition you can follow the link here:

I will also post pictures on my instagram:

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Matt Walsh 
New South Wales
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