Following this is Beverly Weikert’s testimony, prepared in Jan. 2002, for a State of Indiana presentation:
Nov. 2000 – Weikert family lost owned home of 10 years, lifetime belongings, and health due to severe hidden long term leaks and mold infestation in their manufactured family home – one that had been damaged during installation and supposedly “repaired”. After ten years of subsequent illness, they finally realized that their home was the cause – it was confirmed highly contaminated with mold and the entire family was diagnosed, subsequently, with extreme hypersensitivity to molds. Thus, the Weikert children were both born and raised in a mold-contaminated environment, to ages 7 and 4. This caused neurological, respiratory, gastrointestinal and more symptoms. Sheridan, age 4, had numerous seizures per day & eventually went unresponsive requiring emergency medical attention at the home and had to be rushed to the hospital.
Nov. 2000- May 2002: The Weikert family forced to leave 2nd home (with family) and 3rd home (rented) due to proliferation of indoor mold and return of severe respiratory and neurological symptoms. Newly acquired belongings were left behind with each move at the insistence of IAQ professionals & doctors due to family’s severity of reactivity and health issues and to avoid cross-contamination.
June 2002-March 2004: The Weikert family began to regain some health in rented duplex until 3/12/04 when carpet cleaning, without drying or ventilating, was performed in adjoining duplex. The Weikerts left in the middle of the night on 3/21/04 after Beverly developed numerous grand mal seizures and the family began to connect the date of sicknesses to the carpet cleaning. It is believed the family is now facing chemical poisoning subsequently causing additional serious health complications (including seizures and extreme allergic reactions) to nearly all man-made chemicals. This made it very difficult for them to stay in relatives homes, hotels, motels, and even in their car, as nearly everywhere they went, everyday chemicals had suddenly become toxic to them. Chemical sensitivities can follow mold or chemical exposures. The Weikert family experienced had both of these.
Family has lived in their car and hotels from March 21, 2004, to the present date, while traveling across 4 states seeking appropriate medical care. Current/Recent Symptoms: Life threatening, severe, neurologic/central nervous system, respiratory, gastrointestinal, enlarged organs, thyroid problems, and much more. After 6 weeks of searching for help in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, Beverly, and children, Reyna and Sheridan, have finally found competent, caring medical help for environmental poisoning, in Texas. Tom remains working locally in Indiana, their home state, to keep insurance and pay huge travel, lodging, food and medical bills. Most of this medical care is NOT covered by insurance and difficult for Weikerts to afford but it is their only option. Treatment could consist of multiple trips over a period of time from Indiana to Texas and many thousands of dollars to get the whole family well. The good news is that the clinic they are receiving help in has an excellent track record of success with cases such as theirs and they are meeting many people whose health has dramatically improved through treatment at this medical clinic that treats toxic poisoning. They also need to build a special sort of home that will be healthy for them, that they have control over, where they will not be exposed to mold and chemicals.
They are technically homeless now, without an environmentally safe home (this means a home with a minimum of chemicals and mold resistant) in which they can function and afford. The family hopes to buy land and build an environmentally safe home ASAP. Tom wants to keep working and Bev wants to get well and finish a course in medical transcription so she can work again.
Despite health ailments, from Nov. 2000 – Mar. 2004, Beverly volunteered nationally helping others facing similar environmental issues (mold) to what her family had endured, never knowing it could get so much worse than what it had been prior to 3/12/04.
Now the Weikert family could very much use your help and prayers. They are not happy to ask, as it is easier to help others than to ask for the help they need. But at this point, they just can’t do it alone. They need help to: Local and national fundraising will be undertaken. Your prayers and those of your home church would be deeply appreciated.
A Letter From Bev Weikert to Indiana Lawmakers, 2002
The following letter explains the Weikert family’s experience as Beverly Weikert discusses the family’s experiences, in hopes that laws may be passed to protect homeowners from experiencing their fate thus far. This was prepared in order to deliver a speech to influence Indiana legislators, but was able to be delivered, as speakers were not allowed on the day they attended. However, it gives a good overview of what had happened to them through Jan., 2002. NOTE: THIS WAS PRIOR TO THE MARCH 2004 CHEMICAL AND MOLD EXPOSURE THAT HAS DEVASTATED THEIR FRAGILE HEALTH CONDITIONS, ONCE MORE.
January 29, 2002
Dear Committee Members:
I come to this hearing as a citizen of Indiana and of the United States, as well as a representative of a national consumer group. More importantly, I am here as a mother of two children whose lives have been greatly impacted by the devastating circumstances surrounding toxic mold exposure. Think of our story as if it were happening to you and your family. You go through numerous years of health problems ranging from recurrent infections to debilitating fatigue and various neurological symptoms which greatly alter your daily life. As your health continues to decline there seems to be no explanation as to why you’ve developed a multitude of medical problems, including hypothalamus dysfunction of your brain and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
During this time you also deal with your two children fighting frequent ear infections and strep infections that require doctor visits so often that you feel as if you have invested in their practice. Then, your 4-year-old child begins to develop breathing difficulties so severe they require emergency attention on several occasions. Next, over a several week period of time you watch your 4-year-old child develop more and more neurological symptoms and you have to watch as they go unresponsive after a seizure and must be taken from your home by ambulance.
At this time you start to realize these neurological symptoms your child is experiencing are quite similar to ones you’ve had yourself. Then, you realize all the members of your family have started to have headaches, irritability and strange mood swings. You ask yourself, what is the connection? You tell your local doctors that you think something in or around your home must be making you all have similar symptoms. They think you’re absolutely nuts, act as if they’ve never heard such a thing and tell you that you’re an over-concerned parent.
Next, you find yourself in the waiting room of your local hospital talking to 3 strangers that overhear you making phone calls trying to find an answer. They tell you they think they know the answer: your home may have something in it called Toxic Mold.x They urge you to research and talk to the lady, Melinda Ballard of Texas, whose family lost their health and their home and told their story on national TV.
You research to find many of your health problems right before your eyes. You leave your home in fear this ‘thing’ called Toxic Mold could be the answer. You seek help in figuring out how you will continue to pay the mortgage on a home you cannot live in, pay rent while your insurance decides whether they will cover your claim, and get your home completely tested to know the possible dangers to your family. You seek help everywhere within and outside your state.
You contact your local health department, your state health department, the Dept. of Environmental Management, a state EPA office, the national EPA office, the CDC, the attorney general’s office, and two state representatives. The most help you receive is from the State Dept. of Health telling you that it sounds like you have a problem called ‘Sick Building Syndrome’. They also say it requires a large environmental company for testing and this is the homeowners responsibility. You then talk to Melinda Ballard of Texas and many others nationwide going through these illnesses. You get a bulk sample of your home tested and are told that your home has toxic mold and it is very dangerous to your family.
After much research you get your home completely tested, and your worst fears are confirmed that your home has several toxic molds. You are now told that you should not go back to your home nor take any belongings from the home. You also end up visiting out-of-state physicians that confirm the majority of your health problems could be related to this silent and hidden danger called Toxic Mold. You have now discovered that the home where you raised your children is a toxic environment. This is the story of my family’s toxic mold exposure. Unfortunately, we are not alone. This is happening in homes, schools and workplaces throughout Indiana, across the U.S. and beyond at a growing rate. While the devastation caused by toxic mold can go well beyond only health concerns, this is by far the first priority to address.
In most cases, leaving the toxic environment will solve many of the health conditions. Although, studies show that some mycotoxins produced by these molds can produce lasting complications ranging from multiple chemical sensitivity and lung conditions to various forms of cancer. It has been suggested that one of the mycotoxins produced by Stachybotrys is considered a biological warfare agent by the U.S. Army. This should give you an understanding of the importance of passing this law. To get an even better understanding you could read information pertaining to this emerging public health concern provided by researchers, doctors and scientists experienced in this field.
You should also read the stories of other reported occurrences and illnesses caused by mold. First Lady Bush, Erin Brockovich, Melinda Ballard, the entire Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota, many school children and teachers and numerous other families throughout the nation have become ill from these toxic molds. It could even be in your home or the school of your child/children. And, if it is found in the school of your child/children, beware because currently our state department of health does not even test for species of molds when conducting air quality tests in our schools. You must know the species of molds in order to know if they are or are not toxic molds.
This issue has become an important part of my life. I realized that through my experience and research I had the opportunity to help others. I am now involved with various people, projects and organizations to promote awareness and education of toxic mold and its health concerns. I have also proudly joined, as an Indiana representative, a consumer group by the name of Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings. I have talked with or corresponded with hundreds of people from coast to coast facing this same experience. I knew I could either crumble under the total devastation of this nightmare, or I could do everything in my power to help others. I chose the latter. Now, I am asking you to do the same: DO EVERYTHING IN YOUR POWER TO PASS THIS LAW FOR THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF ALL INDIANA CITIZENS – ESPECIALLY OUR CHILDREN.