Help Kate Fight Mold!

$2,795 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 36 people in 1 month
Created April 11, 2019
It’s been a crazy few years. (Or at least that’s how Kate-Madonna describes it.) Buying a house in 2015 was supposed to be a celebration of beating cervical and anal cancer. Her life savings went into the move and small fixes that she had prepared for. But when the floors were pulled up in late May after closing, everything started going wrong.

Kate’s house had black mold, (the dangerous variety) and a string of endless mouse bodies. In researching more, she found she couldn’t sue her realtor (who lied about the house being in a trust) nor could she sue the two inspectors for more  than the amount she paid. So much was missed, it was hard to imagine how much it would take to get it back together. Every spare cent went towards the house. Things that were once important (like furniture, came second-hand). The subfloor, floors, stairs, and appliances were all replaced. But then, more bad news.

Kate was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in late 2016. Surgery and treatment follow-up took her into 2017. Without understanding why (as it wasn’t connected to her kind of cancer), Kate lost her hair at a remarkably-quick pace as well. Medical bills joined the house bills and in 2017, right after cancer treatment stopped, the floods started, all while the family tried to understand with Orkin and Plunkett’s both on-call and on retainer, how mice were still getting into the fireplace and home, continuing to cause expensive damage.

It began in her daughter’s room, collapsing part of the ceiling. The water from outside siding had been flowing in for some time, and leak after leak occurred- bringing down the ceiling right above Ava’s head. Kate brought out specialists to ensure the room was mold-free, knowing it had tons of moisture and mold was tested and mitigated. The association found no vapor barrier on the outside wall and assured Kate it was fixed. The leaks continued. Realtors were called to see if it could be sold and loans were taken out. But that’s when everything came (literally!) crashing down.

Winter 2019 brought ice dams all over her home causing the exterior back of the home to collapse on itself.  Not only was there damage to her load-bearing wall, framing, windows and drywall, but the downstairs took in all the water. The water came through the fireplace, bringing with it a biohazard of mouse poop and dead, little, mouse bodies. Immediately calling the HOA, she was told again that she was in charge of the interior of her home. Demanding that the siding be taken off so she could see if a vapor barrier was missing on the outside, what she found was worse: Damning evidence of neglect by everyone involved.

After four years, there was no evidence mouse holes were plugged. The back flashings were installed incorrectly under siding. The roof was missing diverters. The entire wall under the deck was filled with evidence of carpenter ants and rotting, black wood. Knowing they had a bigger issue at hand, they called insurance and began opening the interior walls which they were concerned were filled with mold.

Insurance covered a few thousand dollars to open the walls from the ice dam (upper and lower) as well as “dry out” the water activity. But unfortunately, insurance wouldn’t cover the black mold that has forced Kate and the kids out of their home last week. With evidence of mold now on the downstairs belongings, items are being left-behind and they are searching for a new home and boxing up whatever they can in the garage.

While she has a legal team (and legal bills) it’s going to be a long process. The house hasn’t yet been opened where the ice dam crushed the exterior top. Nor has the HOA been able to open the front exterior, where water is still seeping into Ava’s room.

Suddenly, the family realized that things started making sense. Ava’s constant nosebleeds and recent hospitalization. Danny’s hospitalizations and doctor bills for coughs that lasted 7-8 months. Kate’s sudden cancer and hair loss. Her coparent’s inability to be downstairs without sneezing or coughing. It all pointed to something Kate was terrified to acknowledge: Houses can make us sick.

The city is involved. The Department of Labor has been contacted. Inspector after inspector has been to the house and over 18 contractors. Right now, the inside (mold) can’t be remedied until the outside is fixed on both sides. (This means the HOA will have to rip off all the siding, and dispose of the rotting areas, completely re-building.) In the meantime, the inside is filling with toxic mold, which was tested by Dr. Stephanie Digby, when she came to the house.

Told to not allow the kids to come back home, the family is searching for a new home and HUMOR- because nothing else is going to get them through this.

Kate has always come through for friends and family. During the holidays she arranged to help several single moms give their kids  gifts, she arranged donations for the Paynesville Foodshelf, and  she helps friends and strangers alike. Unfortunately her home is currently unlivable and she has depleted her savings.  Her homeowner's insurance company isn't able to cover her immediate needs -- a home where she can live with her two children. The repairs to her home will take months and she has lost of most of her belongings due to mold.  She is still responsible for paying her mortgage on her unlivable house and her HOA dues every month. Plus her regular living expenses and now will need to pay rent for another home. Any assistance is appreciated. Her friends in Minnesota will be helping her with furniture and other items when she finds a new place to live.
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$2,795 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 36 people in 1 month
Created April 11, 2019
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