Please note that the goal changed. The original $5,760 that was raised months ago was used to sustain me at that time. The new immediate need beginning with the April updates is $5,000 plus an additional $10,000 for long-term needs, such as photography equipment. Please read the Updates for further explanation.
I'm not sure how to start this.
Most people don't write their own story for a GoFundMe page. My therapist and close friends have been encouraging me for sometime now to do one. After much soul searching, here I am. My laptop is down, and I am unable to do this on my small phone screen, due to my failing eyesight. A friend is typing for me.
My name is Julieann Nordstrom. I am affectionately known as "Juicy", a childhood name. I am a fine arts professional photographer, blogger, writer, videographer, gardener, liberal, artsy, creator of magical cottages, champion of the downtrodden, spokesperson for PTSD & suicide prevention, activist/spokesperson for domestic violence, environmentalist/activist for the rights of people and animals ... I am a survivor.
On July 11, 2016, lightning struck the little farm house cottage I had been renting for 20 years in Alpharetta, Georgia. I was sitting on my bed with my computer on my bed tray when an inner voice told me to get out quick. I grabbed my purse and ran out to my car in my nightgown, barefooted and then the loudest noise I ever heard and bright light exploded. The lightning went through the ceiling and hit my computer, right where I was 3 minutes before. As I write this, I am starting to shake because I haven't recovered from it still. I lost EVERYTHING including all my professional photography equipment, which is my lifeline! The lightning strike and fire set off a series of extremely unfortunate events over the past year. It has brought back the black grief of when my newborn son, Kenneth, just three days old, died after an act of violence from his father's drunken fists on my body. I have suffered from PTSD from that and other staggering physical abuse over a seven year period.
The stress of those events has taken a serious toll on my emotional, financial and physical health.
I feel like I'm Jennifer Lawrence in the Hunger Games and I'm being watched 24/7 on some big screen to see if I make it through one complicated and risky course to the next. Is she going to make it????
Yep. You know why?? Because I don't quit! Do I want to? HELL YES!!!
For over a year I have been renting small rooms in houses and hotels, going from place to place trying to find the community I wanted to spend my last chapter in. I've now been in 16 different places. I need a place to heal.
I'm tired of pretending I'm healthy when the reality says different. I didn't want anyone to know because of my pride and I thought you would treat me differently.
I have two meningioma brain tumors in my head. They were first discovered in 2009 when I was on Medicaid (unfortunately my health insurance was dropped in my divorce). In the last 20 years I have had 12 (give or take) critical eye surgeries for glaucoma in both eyes. It is a daily struggle just to see. Those are but 2 of the major health issues I deal with on a daily basis. The doctor also is concerned about a rapid weight loss of 30+ lbs in the last few months. This is due to chronic stress and the lack of funds to buy nutritious food and supplements. Currently, my source of income is a monthly disability check, of which $300 is paid to Medicare.
I have been working hard with grief & loss counseling and trying to work out the events of the last year that led me up here to start my life over from complete scratch.
I'm going to do whatever I need to do to create a bright and artistic future. I am a determined woman who wants a good ending to this real life screenplay and I want to squeeze every drop of juice I can out of this precious life I have been given. I didn't want to do it alone this time. I wanted to feel the support and love of a community even if it's only on the Internet and find one here in North Carolina. Of course I'm frightened ... I don't have a safe place to live.
I'm really bad at asking for things, but this time I need your help, and I know if you don't ask you don't receive. I need a safe and stable place where I can focus on living rather than surviving. This GoFundMe is to raise enough funds to cover living expenses (rent, security deposit, utilities, medical, food, transportation to/from doctors, etc) while I get back on my feet in a loving, safe and supporting community in Carrboro, NC, (which is in the heart of 4-5 of the best hospitals/research centers in the United States).
I can't thank you enough.