Four and a half years ago, our mother, Rhonda Butler, was infected with an illness called Pyoderma gangrenosum; a rare, destructive skin disease of which a painful nodule breaks down forming a progressively enlarging ulcer. What began as a small area believed to be a tick bite and treated as Lyme disease, rapidly grew into a painful gaping wound that left her leg with a massive hole that has yet to fully heal.
Due to the initial misdiagnosis, and an avalanche of continued medical mishaps, Mom was bounced around to multiple facilities from 2015 to 2019. These hospitals include Yale, St. Raphael’s, Middlesex, Midstate, and Brigham and Women’s at Dana Farber in Boston. She also required the Guilford VNA services, Branford Hills Health Care Center, and a variety of dermatologists and vascular surgeons. During one stage she was subjected to 40 sessions of a hyperbaric chamber and an astounding 2 weeks of 1000 mg IV drip of Prednisone. This combination poisoned her and she literally had to crawl up stairways because her legs and eyesight were damaged; eventually undergoing cataract surgery.
You can ascertain this time period has been incredibly stressful not only on Mom’s body, but also on her financial health. The insurance companies do not cover all of these expenses and she has been overwhelmed by hospitals putting liens on her house due to outstanding balances. Presently, our Mom will be losing her home to Guilford Savings Bank on December 31, 2019. The wound left her in a precarious position that she could no longer work as of last October and therefore was unable to maintain her mortgage or many monthly bills. Not only is she still trying to heal from this disease, now she is facing being homeless at the age of 67 when she should be retiring and enjoying the house she has tirelessly worked for. The reason for our stated goal is to try and purchase the house outright for $284k, plus any living expenses she needs. If we fall short, it’s to establish new living arrangements and life expenses until she can return to work.
Our mother has always been a woman on the go, raising four energetic daughters who were very active with sports and social lives. She achieved this while working three jobs and eventually opened a home daycare that she ran for an impressive 38 years. She has positively influenced literally hundreds of children and families during her career as a daycare parent and teacher; providing many extracurricular classes including sign language and music. She was inducted into the Branford Education Hall of Fame for her work as an early childhood educator and has lobbied Rep. Rosa DeLauro to have daycare providers recognized for their endless work.
Mom’s dedication to the Branford community is far reaching. She has organized annual Red Cross Blood Drives in honor of her mother, Sally Cavallaro, and donated a whopping 11.5 gallons on her own! She also has been a Girl Scout troop leader, a softball coach, has lovingly made copious amounts of cakes and meals for Tip a Cop events, the Eel Pot, and school fundraisers. She hosted wonderful annual Christmas parties for families of her daycare, and provided egg sandwiches for the high school football team so she could nurture her grandson and his teammates.
Losing her beautiful home on Harbor Street is a massive defeat in the long history of keeping everything together. Our grandmother, Sally, purchased this house in 1955 and Mom began living there at the age of three. Growing up, she and her brothers and sister would fish down at Branford Point and her band of friends would play football on North Harbor Street. When our Nana became ill, Mom purchased the house from her and we enjoyed the same benefits of growing up on the Branford River. Our groups of friends would paddle down on a massive longboard, hang out on the dock and play music on our front porch in the summertime. One of Mom’s favorite activities is sitting on her back deck watching the osprey return to their platform yearly. It breaks our hearts knowing this is being taken away from her due to this horrific illness.
Rhonda’s heart is expansive and she has always been the first person to reach out to help others. As her children, we know our Mom would never ask for assistance. We decided however, to reach out to all who have contacted us and have voiced their desire to do something for her. We understand that our goal is bold, as we want to provide a financial boost to help her begin this new chapter of life. If we can save her home and allow her to remain there to enjoy retirement in its beautiful setting, that would be miraculous. If we are able to raise monies giving her some peace of mind after this tumultuous series of events, that will be equally marvelous. We love you, we thank you, and most of all, we all adore Rhonda!