Update: Sadly, on the night of November 4th, 2019, Heather Colman-McGill passed away. Please read the tribute to Heather co-written by her friends here
Heather, a lovely and kind person who is 98% bedbound with a neuroinflammatory/ autoimmune disease – severe myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), Lyme disease, and multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS), is urgently in search of a live-in caregiver. Her disease has now progressed to the point where she is experiencing profound suffering. But with a kind soul willing to commit some months as her caregiver, she has a chance to survive, heal and regain some quality of life. No caregiving or nursing experience is necessary, just patience, kindness, and an openness to learning.
Heather is currently in the Boston area, but her sensitivity to her current housing (due to toxic mold exposure) and poor air quality is causing further deterioration. Our hope is first to move Heather to a more pristine location elsewhere in New England and ultimately to a beautiful rural location where others have experienced healing, in the pure air and non-toxic dwellings of the Southwest. Her caregiver would live with her first in New England and then travel with her out west. Potential caregivers need not currently reside in the Northeast. In addition, Heather’s family can help with the cost of travel to New England (within reason).
As someone with severe ME, Heather needs help with daily tasks such as preparing, serving and cleaning up meals, bathing, running errands (shopping, picking up prescriptions), laundry and cleaning her living environment. During moves, she would also need help with driving, cleaning/preparing the new living space, and logistics.
These tasks typically only require a few hours of work a day in the afternoon and evening, so the caregiver will have downtime to themselves in the mornings but must be prepared to stay nearby should Heather need additional help throughout the day.
Heather is very sensitive to light, sound, vibration, and mold/chemicals; all of these triggers can worsen her symptoms including severe organ pain. It is vital that her caregivers be quiet and prepared to carefully follow protocols designed to limit Heather’s exposure to toxic mold/chemicals. Should you express interest in the position, you will get detailed instructions on these protocols, and we are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Stipend and housing
The current stipend is $1600 per month. In addition to free housing and a stipend, it may be possible to fundraise for additional pay for the right caregiver, as reliable caregiving is critical to Heather’s healing. Helpers could be a couple or two friends, however, there is only one stipend available. Children and pets, unfortunately, are not allowed due to the need to follow a strict protocol for minimizing exposure to mold and chemicals. The position may be ideal for writers, artists, students, digital nomads, or those wanting a sabbatical in beautiful natural surroundings while providing life-saving help!
Ideally, this is a 3-6 month position, or longer if possible. Recovering health from these diseases, especially at Heather’s degree of severity, typically involves dedicated caregiving and help in minimizing any exposure to mold and other environmental toxins. It has been an uphill battle but reliable caregivers will make healing possible. Don’t assume someone else will help Heather! This position will be a true work of mercy, and Heather, her family, and her friends will be eternally grateful.
Minimizing toxic mold exposure while bed bound
Petra, a 25 year old woman who was 100% bedbound with Lyme disease and severe ME similarly to Heather, has experienced healing as a result of avoiding mold exposures with the help of her parents as dedicated caregivers. This too might be possible for Heather if we can find someone who is willing to be a dedicated caregiver! Watch the video below to hear Petra describe her experience!
More about Heather
Heather first developed ME as a teenager, though like many patients, she was not diagnosed for nearly 20 years. The condition leads to a breakdown in the body’s ability to generate energy, among many immunological and neurological problems, and is typically triggered after the body receives more physiological insults than it can handle. In her case, she was infected by a tick-borne disease at 12 and mononucleosis at 18, and was exposed to toxic mold in her childhood homes and schools. She began having many symptoms of the illness, but when doctors had no answers, she simply pushed through until that was no longer possible. She was a straight-A student, an athlete, and a world traveler with a tremendous zest for life. Despite her illness, she managed to earn a BA in Biology at Bowdoin and a Masters in Environmental Science at Yale before starting a part-time environmental consultancy, doing work on climate change for the United Nations.
Applying and outreach
Please share this post among friends, forward to those you know who may be interested! Please do not hesitate to inquire more about the position if you have questions.
To apply, please send an email to email@example.com