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This fundraiser ended on 11/30/11

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Help Sara overcome environmental sensitivities.

Dear Friend:

It’s hard for me to know how to begin this letter. It feels awkward at best. You probably don’t know me, but I feel compelled to write to you to ask you to join me to help my friend Sara Edelman. When I told Sara that I wanted to help her raise money, she was mortified. It is important that you know that it was only through my insistence that she eventually agreed to my writing this; please know that Sara feels some embarrassment about it, but agreed because she is so desperate for help.

As you may know, Sara has been fighting acute chemical/environmental sensitivities that have made her life extremely difficult since the late 90’s. Sara is a highly self-motivated, creative and intelligent person who also used to be quite physically active. Sara’s challenges began suddenly with fibromyalgia in the early ‘90's. She was able to control the severe pain and depression of this illness with medications. In the late 90's Sara began to experience intense, seemingly unexplainable illnesses at various times; this was the beginning of her long struggle with sensitivity to the everyday chemicals around us. Gradually over several years the list of items that she could no longer tolerate came to include medications, vitamins, herbs, soaps, detergents, fragrances, pesticides, chemicals and dyes in fabrics, foods, and other substances. She eventually qualified for Social Security Disability as she was unable to continue working.

Sara exhausted her personal savings early on in her quest to find help for her health issues. The loss of her livelihood was devastating, and she was often scoffed at as a hypochondriac. The loneliness and hardship she has suffered has been considerable. I know firsthand because Sara has confided in me and called me for emotional support over the years.

I am a longtime friend of Sara's from our Cornell University days. I work in the fields of environmental health and psychology and know “just enough to be dangerous” about environmental sensitivities. As you may know, this is an emerging area of medical research and not a lot is yet known about it. One thing is clear however: its occurrence is rising dramatically. Several Canadian hospitals are amongst the leaders of the research in this field. Here are two links to one of those hospitals if you would like to learn more: www.cdha.nshealth.ca/environmental-health-centre/environment-and-multiple-chemical-sensitivity, and
www.cdha.nshealth.ca/environmental-health-centre/heightened-state-reactivity.

The good news today is that after years of suffering with these profound environmental sensitivities, Sara has experienced some progress in regaining her health after working with a clinic called the Hansa Center, in Wichita, Kansas, in August 2011.

Some of you may be skeptical of the somewhat alternative nature of the Hansa Center, which is run by chiropractic physicians who are also highly skilled in homeopathy, Chinese and botanical medicine, and Biological Medicine, used often in Europe. The reality is that there are not many choices for care in the U.S. at this time given the infancy of our knowledge in this field. In part, it is through the experimentation of individuals such as those at this clinic that we learn what works. Clearly, something about their approach has contributed to Sara's progress of late, and that is important. Sara has tried so many far-flung and well-known doctors and clinics over the years, including the Mayo Clinic, and come up with various diagnoses but no real help. Since visiting the Hansa Center, Sara is now able to tolerate some medications as well as other common things. She is less tired and can find much more joy in her days.

In addition to her positive experience with the clinic, Sara also discovered that some of her constant symptoms abated immediately upon arriving in Wichita, before even seeing the doctor. She believes this may well be attributable to the considerably lower levels of mold and pollen levels in Kansas (compared with hot and humid Florida). So, in order to both be in a healthier environment and to be able to see the doctors at Hansa, she is going to move to Wichita, on her own, for at least some months. Moving and resettling will be stressful and costly. Sara’s disability award is perilously small. She has Medicare, but it covers only the most traditional of medical treatments, none of which are applicable to this condition.

Sara has met or talked at length to six different individuals who have recovered much of their lost health after being treated at the Hansa Center. She desperately seeks the opportunity to do the same. Her lack of sufficient financial resources is preventing her from continuing the clinic’s protocols. I know some of you have helped Sara financially in the past. I am asking if you would be willing to join me in helping to ensure Sara is able to continue the recommended treatment protocol at this clinic. It would be wonderful if she could build on her recent successes there.

I believe that we owe it to Sara, who has been a real trooper through the years she has suffered with this condition, to support her in her battle to overcome it. Her illness is an “invisible” one, which no tests can directly pinpoint, but the illness is just as debilitating physically and emotionally as any major identified illness can be. She is disabled, unable to work, mostly alone and far from support of most any kind, and suffering physical illness, pain, fatigue, nutritional, endocrine and neurological problems. The opportunity that the Hansa Center presents is no minor thing in her life.

I hope you will join in Sara’s “greater family” and together help to give her a chance to reclaim a level of health that affords her the opportunity to live, to be of use, to enjoy, and to be appreciated.

Sara needs to raise several thousand dollars. Together we can make that happen. Thank you so much for your generosity.


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