THIS CAMPAIGN HAS BEEN CLOSED
Organized by: Karen Ann Young
I AM HOME!
August 11, 2016
Please bear with me, this will be lengthy. I'm in desperate need of help and have exhausted every avenue the last year, and have faced horrendous circumstances far beyond that time. I am visually impaired and disabled and desperately in need of a place to live.
I feel it's important to explain my background and the trials I've endured (and overcome) which have landed me in the desperate position I'm currently in.
I'm 54 years old, legally blind (Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, Diabetic Retinopathy and Glaucoma) and battle PTSD, Depression and anxiety disorder. At present I have no vision in my right eye and can see only shapes and colors with my left. I use both speech and magnification software to access the computer.
I'm partnered with my sixth guide dog (Jingles), who is from The Seeing Eye. I'm also partnered with Maizie (mini Dachshund) who has been my Diabetic Alert Dog for the last 9 years. Jingles is the only guide dog ever trained to work in tandem with another Service Dog, and she was voted 2013 Hero Guide Dog by the American Humane Association. I call my girls "The Dynamic Duo", and they have been lifesavers. You can follow them on their FB page The Dynamic Duo of Service Dogdom. I also have three mini Dachshunds who fit the phrase "Emotional Support Animals" to a "T" - they help with PTSD/depression/anxiety and are a great comfort. They keep me going!
I was brutally abused throughout my early childhood by my oldest sibling (now deceased). Through years of therapy with an amazing psychologist I've faced and come to terms with those traumatic events. The physical wounds healed long ago, but the emotional impact lingers.
At age 11 I was diagnosed with Type I diabetes (insulin dependent) and that was the beginning of a life time of complications of which I continue to struggle with. In my mid teens I began to lose the remainder of my already poor vision. I developed a neurogenic bladder (the nerves are damaged due to Neuropathy; I cannot urinate, have an indwelling foley since). The catheter is a constant source of infection and I've fought endless urinary tract and kidney infections throughout my life.
By age 17 I developed Gastroparesis, a disease effecting motility - the nerves in my digestive system are damaged causing food to move extremely slowly and the stomach is unable to break food down to be digested. The disease worsened over the years until nine years ago I had to have gastrostomy and jejunostomy tubes surgically placed and I'm now on liquid nutrition via a feeding pump.
At age 19, lost and feeling hopeless, I slipped into a deep depression and attempted suicide. Thankfully a Greater Power had other plans for me and I survived. (smile)
I met a young physician when I was 21 who took me under her wing... she saw something in me that I didn't see in myself, and helped me to see life was worth living. She encouraged me to apply for a guide dog, and on Valentine's Day 1985 I met my heart dog Audrey at Guiding Eyes for the Blind - a mellow yellow Lab who changed my life.
Despite (or perhaps in spite of) the difficulties with my health, with Audrey by my side I went to college and earned first a degree in Human Services and then my BS in Counseling and Health Ed, graduating in 1991. I began graduate studies at SUNY Albany in hopes of earning my MSW.
I had to take a leave from my studies after one semester, as my health issues increased and I had to undergo surgery on my eyes due to retinal detachment in the Spring of 1992. I never returned to school and have spent the time since dealing with ongoing medical issues and further loss of vision that's been quite disabling.
Again, despite the medical problems I applied for countless positions over the years following college to no avail. It was discouraging being turned down again and again, when I have such a great education and was so willing to move on with my life.
I have volunteered for 30+ years presenting a program I developed (On Sight with Youth) to schools and service organizations all around the area, as well as out of state. I speak of "the wonders of service dogs" and help educate on blindness and various disabilities.
From 1985 until 2014 I rented an apartment above my parents in their two-family home. My parents and I were very close all through my life, they were here for me through the most difficult times and the most joyous times as well... and vice versa.
Dad passed away at age 80 in 2007, and Mom and I struggled to keep the house. I'm on a fixed income and Mom as well. We struggled, we survived.
We did everything together, never went more then a few hours without either seeing each other or talking on the phone. She was my best friend, and I know she loves me dearly still. We were survivors, interdependent and helped each other through everything that we came across.
In 2009 Mom left the house to me in her will, as my 2 older siblings had homes and families of their own. This angered the siblings, who were extremely jealous of my parents' and my closeness.
A niece (daughter of my deceased oldest sibling) and her husband moved in with my mother in 2011. They promised to pay Mom's bills and taxes so that she wouldn't lose the house. I continued paying rent and taking care of my own responsibilities, and was so grateful that someone in the family finally stepped up to help Mom. Unfortunately their agenda was not as pure as they wanted people to believe, I learned that much later.
My siblings were convinced that when Mom passed away my niece and her husband would end up convincing me to leave the house to them... and the siblings were not about to allow that to happen. From that point on they (siblings) made it their mission to get their hands on the house, and thus began several years of exhausting psychological abuse at the hands of "family".
Over a span of two years they manipulated and bullied my mother to the point they convinced her to put the house in their names (without my knowledge). They took advantage of my beautiful mother, and to hurt me and to spite my niece they effectively turned my and Mom's lives upside down.
To make a very long story much shorter - due to the unconscionable behavior of 2 siblings, a niece and her husband, I lost the life long loving relationship I'd shared with my mother, and I was forced first out of my home of 3 decades and then out of a temporary safe haven after 8 months and left homeless.
I've contacted every agency in the area and surrounding areas trying to find assistance, searching for a place to live. I contacted our local Housing Authority and learned that I couldn't apply for subsidized rent because HUD was closed to new applicants until this coming August 2016. I spoke with my physician and psychologist and many friends who offered advice and many were able to find other contacts for me. I applied to several low-income housing complexes throughout the area, the lists are so long, there is no telling when an apartment will become available.
Thank God for angels among us, as a sweet friend offered to let me move in and rent space in her apartment with her and her little girl. I'll be forever endebted to her! She stepped up when I needed help the most, without a second thought. I was able to stay with her from August 2015 until end of May this year.
I spent the month of June renting an apartment from a friend of a friend, who was out of state for that time. When she returned end of June I was forced to move into a small room in a nearby city. I've been here since. It's extremely expensive, but as always I've been blessed with angels in my life (friends, family and complete strangers) who have assisted me financially to enable me to have a roof over my head.
For the last two plus years I've survived the wrath of despicable excuses for human beings who masquerade as "family", a host of extremely inept "assistance" agencies, politicians and the media throughout several counties. Every time a glimpse of hope arises, it's shot down or put on hold or outright ignored.
Yes, I am beyond exhausted physically and emotionally but I'm not broken yet!! Each time I get knocked down I cry for a bit, feel like I'm lost, can't imagine what tomorrow will bring... then I pick myself up and remind myself of the blessings in my life (four legged and two legged!).
My hope is that I can raise money to afford the rent where I am until such point an apartment becomes available in one of the low-income complexes I'm on lists for. I'm told it's likely going to be another 8-12 months before an apartment is available.
Though my life has been a roller coaster and is currently in a state of chaos I feel extremely blessed and have much to be thankful for! I have a handful of amazing friends/family and my church family who are a constant source of encouragement, lifting me in prayer, sending good thoughts and helping me in my search. I have my hearts, my dogs... Jingles (guide dog), Maizie (Diabetic Alert Dog) and three doxies (Georgie, Joanie and Dannie). I am a child of God, and I lean on my faith. Without the encouragement, my faith and my dogs I'd not have survived!
I need a home for myself and my dogs - my heart and soul in a life torn in pieces. If anyone can help I will be so very grateful! Thank you in advance! I will post updates and photos to put a "face" to my name and situation! Many blessings to all!