A Walsh Family Wish
Organized by: Laurie Campbell
I earned my Masters degree in Elementary and Special Education in 1996 from Nazareth College of Rochester. I began working in Early Childhood Education. At about the same time I met a man that had moved here from Manchester, England and married him in 1998. We purchased a small home (1,250 sq.ft.) and decided to start a family. In 1999 our first child, Sarah Anne, was a still birth. We had our son Andrew in 2000 and went on to have Matthew in 2004 and Heather in 2006. Matthew began having medical issues from birth. He was unable to tolerate breast milk or soy milk so we put him on a special formula. He took Zantac for re-flux because he spit up a lot. Matthew was a fussy baby. His symptoms worsened when he began eating food. Matthew would throw up a lot and he had issues learning to toilet train. He had difficulty staying in a day care setting and by the time he started school he was not able to attend full days due to his digestive issues. At one point he had a part time aide to help support his toileting but it didn't seem to be enough. His initial diagnosis was constipation encopresis. In addition, I discovered that my husband was an alcoholic. My husbands alcoholism grew worse as time went on. I thought I could help him, but I was wrong. My son was unable to stay in school due to having bowel issues 2-3 times a week. I could not rely on my husband to take care of him and no one was willing to help with his care (schools and day care centers included). I divorced my husband in 2009 and had to file for bankruptcy. My husband then died in 2012 from his alcoholism. He did not have anything to his name and no life insurance. It took us years to figure out that my son Matthew had dozens of food allergies (and environmental allergies) which were causing his condition. He is 11 years old now and continues to have significant medical and emotional challenges. He has been able to attend school full time since 2nd grade. I was ready to get back to work that year but that is when the teaching market tanked. I have been working as a Teacher's Assistant in Special Education. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a better job but I look all the time. The net result is that I am trying to raise my three children on $10/hr and no summer position because I cannot find work that will offset the cost of childcare. I had to rent out my home to pay the mortgage and I currently rent out a different location. It is a challenge to make enough to support my family's basic needs. I owe 26k on the home my husband and I bought. If I could pay it off I could give my children a home to live in and not have to worry about where their next meal was coming from. I would have enough to support them without having a mortgage to pay. In addition, I am driving an extremely unreliable vehicle that stalls intermittently. I would like to provide my children with safe transportation. I will continue to try and improve our lives in whatever way I can. Thank you for reading our story.