Today’s Mold Talks guest is Lisa Christensen, an artist, art teacher, mold exposure survivor, and mold advocate. Her experience with mold has been a long and difficult road, with exposure occurring both in her home and at her place of work. From dealing with apartment complex managers to insurance companies and school boards, Lisa now knows just how difficult handling mold can be.
Even with all of the pain, obstacles, and discouraging situations she's faced, she’s using her experience to help others as much as possible. From advocacy to pushing for change, Lisa is pushing for mold awareness, acceptance, and proper removal so that no one has to suffer as she has suffered. In particular, she said, students and teachers who attend mold-filled schools.
During this episode of Mold Talks, Michael Rubino chats with Lisa Christensen, who opens up about her ongoing battle with mold illness and sensitivity. Lisa’s journey with mold began in 2019 after she moved into what she considered a fairly new apartment building. Over time, she began developing symptom after symptom that began altering her normal life, but she couldn’t pinpoint what the problem actually was. While her brother suffered from toxic mold issues and organ failure years before, she just never considered that this fungus could be in her new apartment. Luckily, a random event and intuition led her to discover an existing mold issue.
What followed were months of going back and forth with her complex, hiring a lawyer, battling the insurance company, and dealing with the financial burden that comes along with indoor mold growth. Eventually, she moved out of the apartment complex, which finally allowed her body to detox. Nine months later, she finally began to feel like her normal self again.
Unfortunately, Lisa’s journey with mold didn’t stop there. After moving back to Washington, D.C., she took a job as an art teacher but made the mistake of not checking out the building before accepting the position. During her first day touring the school, she immediately began experiencing symptoms of exposure. This sparked another obstacle-filled experience of attempting to circumnavigate her contract, not being able to work, finding a doctor, dealing with insurance again, getting on disability, and just trying to stay healthy.
Now, she’s using her experience to provide advice to others and to advocate for change, particularly in schools. It’s especially important, she said, for children to learn in environments that aren’t making them sick so that they can be successful later on in life.
“The sad part of all of this is that… these are kids that are like not fully developed, where they'll get brain damage or it might mimic them having a learning disability and they don't even have one and it actually mold. I want them to be successful in life and this is poisoning their bodies. Then the sad part is, a lot of these low-income kids probably already even have it in their homes.”
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