Anytime you use my services or purchase my books, 10% of my profits will be donated to a special, inspiring friend of mine, Charissa Galbraith. Suffering from a severe case of Environmental Illness (EI), which causes a variety of debilitating autoimmune issues, she lives on a small disability check that doesn't nearly cover her expenses, as well as on assistance from a few committed friends and occasional donors. Because of her low income and extreme medical restrictions, she faces difficult circumstances on a daily basis that are unimaginable to most of us, including almost complete isolation.
Despite everything, Charissa has one of the gentlest, sweetest spirits you will ever encounter and a BIG faith in God that she loves to share every chance she gets! Below I will share my story of meeting Charissa, so that you can better understand why I am so committed to helping her meet her urgent needs. However, it's more important that you hear her speak for herself. If you then feel so led, please consider donating to Charissa's GoFundMe page. Even if you don't choose to donate, however, she will touch you with her humble spirit, her beautiful trust in God, and her powerful story.
CHERI'S STORY (told with permission): In 2019 I answered an ad on a community website; a woman was asking to borrow a small tent. I had no need of mine anytime soon, so I drove to the address she gave me in a nearby neighborhood. It was a large house in a wealthy neighborhood, making me wonder why she couldn't buy her own tent, but I figured it wasn't any of my business. Dutifully, I carried the tent down the walk from the driveway to the porch. I was unable to see the porch because of tall, thick bushes in front of it, so as I passed them, I was completely unprepared for what I saw next and froze in my tracks.
A small, thin, frail woman sat in a hard chair near the door, seemingly propped up with an s-shaped metal rod wrapped around her body, which I later learned was designed to help with her chronic physical pain. Her belongings were neatly arranged as if the porch were a room--a small table near the chair, a potted plant for decoration, suitcases, a sleeping bag and pillow, boxes, and various other objects. She didn't move to stand up but greeted me warmly, introducing herself as Charissa, and then she explained that the house wasn't her own. The owner was allowing her to live temporarily on the porch, safely screened by the bushes. She needed the tent so that she could move to the backyard for a few weeks, while she tried to find a place to live.
At this point my jaw literally dropped open, and I could only stare at her in shock. This woman didn't look like she could last a single night sleeping outside, let alone live in a tent in a suburban backyard (or on a front porch!). When I recovered my wits, I began firing questions at her to try to understand her situation better. I forgot about respecting her privacy or about being polite. I was too horrified to think about such niceties.
She explained that the owner was an acquaintance who had tried to give Charissa temporary shelter while she looked for new long-term housing. However, because Charissa suffered from a severe case of Environmental Illness, an issue with some recent interior flooding and some long-standing mold that grew deep in the walls had made her so ill that she was forced outside to the porch for relief. She literally had nowhere else to go. She was too weak to wander the streets, and a hospital, homeless shelter, or other public assistance was out of the question. Their environments were inherently toxic for her delicate immune system; they would make her even sicker.
Over the next year or so, until I moved out of state, I tried to help Charissa as much as I could--bringing her groceries, helping her move into a better boarding situation, providing a shower, telling others about her, and so on. Now I am hoping to continue helping her by telling my visitors her story. I invite you to join me in assisting this very special, inspiring lady. If you have ever wanted to help a real person with urgent, specific needs, instead of sending money to an impersonal charity, please consider helping Charissa Galbraith. She deserves everything wonderful!