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This fundraiser ended on 02/22/13

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Rylie is a lead affected 2 yr old boy, whose family is working hard to lower his lead levels, raise funds, and renovate for lead abatement.

In May of 2011, my husband and I became first time home buyers. The house was gorgeous, and we fell in love with it. With two kids, working on one small income, we moved in quickly with the help of friends and relatives. In the first few months, with boxes to unpack, and two young children, one of whom was just under 1 year of age, it was next to impossible to keep our younger son, Rylie, from putting things in his mouth. The first time I saw him eat a paint chip, I panicked, dug it out of his mouth, and said, "NO!" I immediately got online and found any information I could about funding for lead abatement. I called the government number, and was connected to the Department of Health. The woman I spoke to said that there was no funding (May), and to call back to see if there was funding for lead abatement in August. Meanwhile, I sprayed, scraped, swept, and kept vigil. Several more times, I would dive at my little boy, digging bits of paint out of his mouth, and I would move furniture, clean, sweep, spray, scrape--as soon as I could get someone to keep my boys away from that area. I called again in August of 2011. The woman I spoke to said that we were the perfect candidates for lead abatement assistance, but that there was no funding. We asked my father-in-law, a contractor, to help us build the bare-wood attic into a safe master suite. I scoured Craigslist for materials, free or cheap. My husband and I participated in the labor as much as possible, and we added 300 sq ft of new construction, and moved both boys' sleeping areas up there, all at our cost, with labor and materials to be paid back to small personal loans: to my father-in-law, for the plumbing, the flooring, etc. Anyone who has renovated will be familiar with the costs we are speaking of. Before the completion of the attic level in January of 2012, a routine screening of my son's blood showed elevated lead levels. I was not surprised, but frustrated, guilty, angry, and scared. With 3-4 months in between each blood draw, we brought Rylie’s lead levels down from 19 to 17 to 14, pushing healthy foods and vitamins while making improvements in the house, like replacing old windows (which are a problem area for lead), and aggressively paying on construction bills. Though we have added an entire safe story of the house, replaced porch railings (where the kids play), brought Rylie’s lead levels down, put in 8 brand new windows, and more, the Department of Health continues to say that we need to show more improvement. There is no lead abatement funding to aid us, but they still expect results which are almost impossible given a household of small children, a husband and father who is literally always on call for emergency roadside assistance, and an imaginary budget. We are borrowing heavily on the credit of my contractor father-in-law, whom we are fortunate to have helping us. Our credit card is at the limit. There are points every month where our account balance is near zero, and we took out $1000 from our mutual funds, severely depleting funds which are supposed to one day become our emergency fund and college fund for the children. Not only that, but after we added 300 sq ft, a bedroom and a bathroom, our home was appraised at thousands of dollars less than the previous value, and, though we love our home and take pride in it, we have put more money into construction than we will ever get back. Excluding the work we have already completed, a lead abatement contractor estimated $13,050 more into lead abatement for just the second level and small parts of the exterior of the home. My oldest son Bailey never tested high for lead, and Rylie’s lead levels are declining, but I need to make our home a safe place for my daughter Kaeli, who just turned 6 months old. She puts everything in her mouth, and loves to practice crawling. Please help us renovate for Rylie. Please help us renovate for Kaeli, and for Bailey. Please help us pay the bills that are edging out our grocery budget, and help us fund more positive changes for our home. We may never get our investment back, but a home is more than the money you put into it.

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