Our Story (short version):
My name is Jaimie Jurgensen. My wife and I have four lovely children. Around the last part of 2011 we began having problems in the duplexes we were renting. Moisture was appearing all throughout the house, every night. Mold began to appear as well. Before the mold began to appear, we contacted maintenence about the moisture. After numerous calls, the maintenence man came out and told me the place needed to be remodeled. These duplexes were old military housing that had been decommisioned and never fixed up. We did our best to keep our house dry, but a few weeks later, we began to get sick. I was vomiting and having breathing problems, my youngest children were both put on breathing treatments and inhalers as well. My wife and children had various illnesses during this as well.
One day my wife and kids were on our bed and I jumped in to the pile of love myself. As I did, the bed came away from the wall and we noticed that behind where the bed was on the wall, was huge patches of various colors of mold. Mainly a blackish color though. We went through the house looking behind things, checking closets, behind pictures, etc. We found mold over the house. Mainly concentrated in our bedroom though. We contacted the manager of our building, demanding something be done, our clothes and things replaced, and were denied. We were told our renters insurance should cover these items, but the insurance stated that since it was a preexisting condition of the duplexes, it was THEIR responsibility to do this. I contacted the manager again and asked for cleanup and a mold test to be done. They came and did their alleged cleanup and test. We had to go stay in hotels during this, draining our dwindling finances further, we were not allowed to stay at the house. After the alleged cleanup, I asked to see copies of the mold report, worried about what was in our house. Especially since my littlest ones were sick and my wife and I were also having bad problems. We were given the round around so bad, it got to the point that I contacted another company and had them come in and do a mold test. During this process, we noticed the moisture had come back, the mold was showing through on places they had painted. Where there was drywall, it was getting so wet it was falling out of the places they had patched. It was a nightmare. Adding to the nightmare, the mold report I commisioned came back showing HUGE amounts of toxic black mold in our bedroom and high levels elsewhere in the duplex. We complained about the problems contuining to managment and repeated the cleaning process at least 4 times more. During this, the managment told me their mold report came back clear, yet refused to allow me to see a copy of it.
By this time it was around February '12. We had had enough. The health concerns and problems were mounting. The whole family was being affected and we were getting no where with the managment of the duplexes. Something had to give, we were being lied to by people who are supposed to follow laws concerning this, but were not. We contacted many lawyers about this and while everyone told us we had a case, no one seemed to want to take it. I had our mold report, pictures, witnesses, the whole nine yards, but couldn't get anywhere for awhile. With no other choice, but to stay and get sicker, we put all our possesions into storage and went to stay with some of my wifes family in another town. During this period, I lost my job due to all the events occuring and my ongoing health problems. Things quickly fell apart from there, culminating in us bouncing around friend to friend and culminated in us being homeless. This went on for months. I was able to get another job and move us into a discounted rent situation. The landlord was absolutely horrible and odd, but beggars can't be choosers. I continued to work my butt off to rebuild our lives, when problems started occuring in my arms. I recieved tendon and ligment damage to both arms, landing me smack dab on disablity status at 31. I need corrective surgery to fix arms, long story short. My wife has found work, but we still aren't making ends meet. County aid is anything but, with being accepted then cut off. Red Cross and Salvation Army don't help people, that are victims of this. We've tried everything we could. We are paying out of pocket for our medical, no insurance. Nightmare city.
Through this horrid patch, we did get a lawyer interested in our case though. He commended me for the evidence I had collected, moving out, putting things in storage, etc. and is trying to help us now. While I have done most things right and made smart moves concerning a lawsuit, due to our health problems, we need to see a specialist in L.A. to go further with our case and get our problems documented, which leads to why I am here, asking for your help and prayers. We have lost everything. My children have been through so much, my wife as well. I am now disabled and useless and we are just not able to make things work. The strain on our lives and marriage is tremendous. We have very little family or friends and they have helped as much as they possibly could. Our backs are up against a wall and we are left with no where else to turn.
What we are asking for and why:
We are asking for $20,000 (holy s**t that's a lot, I know). The testing and visit to the specialist in L.A. is $5,000 a head. "But wait, you're only asking for $20k and there are 4 of you..." Yes, we know. Our main concern is getting my wife and youngest daughter tested, since they stayed in the room, with the highest concentration of the spores and suffer the most problems. Next up is my second youngest, due to her problems health wise. That's $15,000 right there. The other $5k would go to paying our outstanding bills, putting food on our table (at the time of writing this, I have literally 4 dinners left to make us), helping us outfit the kids for school (supplies and some decent clothes, backpacks, etc.), putting gas in my wifes vehicle, so she can get to work and other everyday expenses.
Getting us tested by this doctor is the puzzle piece we are missing in going after these people for what they've done to us and getting justice for my family and all that we have lost. It's not about getting a huge settlement, it's about making right on all we've lost and what we've suffered due to this. Imagine losing it all. Everything from when you were a baby on up. Imagine it happening to your kids. All they're favorite toys and books, all of it, gone. The health problems and expenses. The lies fed to you and your family.....
The rest of the money as I said, goes to us living decently for a short while. It's been a long time since that's happened and I want to see my babies smile again. I want my wife to be happy and I'd like to also be a little happy. Being disabled and being shot down left and right for everything, this all I can think to do now.
What happens if you beat the goal?
Anything we make beyond the goal, goes to the rest of the children and myself, being tested. 6 people = $30k for all of us to be tested. After $30k and up to $40k, goes towards paying dow our debts and bills, putting food on the table, taking care of the kids and replacing their things. Now, if we somehow manage to make more than $40k, what we are planning to do with the money after that is starting a foundation for those in situations like ours.
Yes. We are not the only suffers of toxic black mold. We aren't the only family out there with health problems, getting shot down for aid left and right. We all know things aren't easy these days and if we make more than our goal, we want to help out others like us. Helping them with mold tests, visiting doctors, paying hotel/rent expenses, bills, food, etc. Whatever we can do to pay it forward. The best way we think to do that, is setup a foundation, to help people in similar circumstances.
How does this story end?
We don't know. We are trying to go after the company that did this to us, hence this campaign to help us with the testing and possibly food and bills. Our situation is dire, but we are doing everything we can. Despite being disabled, I am still fighting to recieve, actual disability payments from SSI, I am out hunting for jobs that don't really require my hands and as you can imagine, that is not easy. My wife is working and as I said above, we still can't make the ends meet. The medical expenses, prescriptions, bills and everything else, have driven us into debt, when before we were doing alright. If we can get the help we need, we can get over this mountain of a hump and start rebuilding. We just need some breathing room and to get these tests done, so we can hopefully recoup our losses from the company that managed the duplexes. If the lawsuit doesn't work, then at least we have the breathing so I can maybe find work and we can start putting into savings again, instead of always taking out until it's past dry, like it is now.
If you can't donate, please tweet the link for this, tell your friends, notify your news channel, email co-workers, please help our story get out and expose these people. Thank you.