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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Family Suffers From "Monster in the Walls"

Family discovers they have lived with hazardous mold for years.
By Sid Riley

Melissa Gilbert made her last payment on her home in Greenwood in July. Now she has discovered she must spend thousands to rip out many of the interior walls, tear out the bathroom, and replace much of the roof in order to make the house safe for her and her children to live in. She has discovered that for many years there has been a "Monster in the Walls".

The monster’s name is "stachy", which is short for Stachybotrys Chartarum (atra). This is a toxic mold which grows on water damaged materials such as ceiling tiles, insulation, wallpaper, wood, sheet rock paper, and rotting wood. Even touching the mold can create a rash on the skin.

The mold can cause bleeding lungs in infants, chronic respiratory problems in adults, cold and flu symptoms, sore throats, headaches, fatigue, and dermatitis.

Melissa has been aware of a history of leaks in her home over the twenty-one years she has lived there, with various roof leaks and plumbing problems occurring as the house aged. It was only when she began reacting to the discovery of the monster did she discover a long time leak which existed in the wall behind the bath tub, which was creating a slow water flow down the wall and into the flooring under the tub. Upon investigation by specialists the mold was discovered in the walls, ceilings, and flooring of several rooms.

Melissa and her children have suffered from frequent headaches, frequent flu-like symptoms, and her children have asthma. It was these ailments which caused Melissa’s parents to encourage her to have the house inspected. It didn’t take the inspector long to find the "monster", along with six varieties of other demons.

Because of this discovery, Melissa has relocated her children to temporary housing at other locations, while she continues to live with the monster. She is planning the necessary repairs, but raising the money has become a problem.

Melissa is a 1996 graduate of Marianna High School, and is employed as a Medical Assistant in Dr. Chin’s clinic in Marianna. Her co-workers have banned together in an effort to help the struggling mother meet these costs. They have named their fund raising campaign "Melissa’s Hope". This Saturday, March 3, they are sponsoring a special spaghetti dinner benefit at the Trinity Baptist Church on Bumpnose Road in Marianna. The delicious dinners will be for sale from 4:30-7:30 PM for $7.00 adults and $4.00 children. You can eat on site or carry the meal home. It is a great meal of spaghetti and meatballs, garden salad, desert and drink. For more information, contact Christine at 482-5223 or Judy at 482-2061.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to help Melissa and her family as part of the "Melissa’s Hope" effort, or would like to donate building materials or even volunteer to help, then call Melissa at 526-6023. God bless those who help.

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