Michael Bush

Michael and I have known each other for 50 years, starting off as camp counselors in the late ‘60’s. He was diagnosed with MS in his 30’s and lost his ability to walk soon after. 
We rekindled our friendship years later and have been married for 7 years. 
In October of last year our home went up in flames from a fire started by a homeless person in the trees under our deck. Because our home was remodeled to accommodate Michael’s mechanical wheelchair and hospital bed with overhead lift our insurance chose not to cover the cost of replacement of most of it. 
We had to take money out of our retirement funds to make up some of the difference. 
Things have not gone well for us in the 7 months since the fire. Michael was hospitalized for smoke inhalation after the fire. He was due for a Baclofen pump to be installed so during his stay that was placed in him. He then spent 2 weeks in ARU and 1 week in a nursing home before we moved to our temporary apartment while our house was being rebuilt. In December he fell out of his chair and dislodged the pump. In January I tripped on uneven pavement at our apartment and broke my hip and in March I had open heart surgery. It is May and we are still without a house and Michael has been admitted to the hospital 6 times since November. I am recovering from hip and heart surgery and have lifting restrictions that affect my caring for Michael. 
Our apartment is $3600/ mo, our new home is $1600/mo. Care givers are $20-$30/hr and insurance covers none of it. We hope to install an overhead lift in our new home like we had before but we paid $15,000 out of our own pocket to have it installed 9 years ago. 
One careless fire in overgrown trees and brush that was not maintained properly by the owner who’s responsibly it was to clear brush away from existing buildings changed our lives forever. I’ve talked with 6 lawyers who have refused to handle our case because the land owner responsible is too rich and powerful. They all believe I have a case but they don’t want to take it.
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Sheilagh McNamara Peyton
Santa Cruz, CA

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