Thank you for your interest in my Community Project, and thanks for coming to this site.
I’m a veterinarian who works from home (for industry) as a senior drug safety specialist. I’ve been a veterinarian for over 30 years, but about halfway into my career I had to sell my practice because I was sick so often. I wasn’t sure what was going on, and it took me a while to learn that I had chemical sensitivity. I didn’t know then it was such an invisible disease – anyone looking at me, even some doctors, thought I was perfectly well. But with exposure to some invisible chemical, I could be rendered horizontally ill.
Back then, my signs were agonizing headaches and the nausea and vomiting that goes along with severe pain. Occasionally I’d get respiratory signs that mimicked a bad cold, until I got away from the offending product, and then I’d ‘recover’ in a about a half hour. As the years went by I learned so much – about the products I used in my home that were contributing to my being sick – it wasn’t just the cleaners at my hospital, it was all around me. It was a long and difficult learning curve.
I’m a mom who’s raised two kids – one who works in theatre writing music and lyrics in NYC, and another who is just entering a career in Raleigh as an environmental engineer. When that engineer was just a little boy I missed both his eighth and ninth birthday parties – I was sick from the cleaners we had used the day before trying to get the house ready for his guests. And the amount of time I was sick contributed to the problems in my marriage to my kids’ dad. This invisible disease is pretty far reaching.
You may know me as your neighbor, as I’ve lived in this home in Greensboro since I moved here with those two kids in 2005. But I don’t get out much, so there’s a chance you don’t know me. And some of you are coming to this site because we met outside of our neighborhood or on the internet, or because you saw a poster or banner or a car with the website information, but don’t let that stop you from reading and thinking about this information. I want you to bring this community project to your people, to your friends and neighbors. Between 16 and 25% of people in the US report that they are chemically sensitive. This affects your neighborhood too.
In 2014 I got married again, and my husband works both from home and on site in RTP. You might know Jim from his nightly walks with Jackie, our black lab mix dog. If it’s dark out, you’ll see the two of them wearing their reflective yellow vests.
I dream of creating communities all across our country that pay attention to the air we share. I dream of all neighbors – even those with chemical sensitivities – being free to walk their neighborhoods at any time, without concern about laundry room exhaust toxins wafting through the air. I dream of being able to keep my husband and our dog company as we all three walk through our neighborhood wearing yellow vests.
My motivation is pure: I want to educate people who may be chemically sensitive and don’t even know it (like me, for years), and to help them clean up their environment. I want more people around me to care about the air we share, and then the air we share will become cleaner. And we’ll all be healthier.
So I invite you to join me on this journey as we intentionally care for The Air We Share.
With appreciation for you choosing to spend some time here,