Mold illness forces woman to live in backyard

SOMERS POINT, New Jersey – October 5, 2009

"This backyard is my bubble."

31-year-old Jennifer Parker is living her life outdoors in a small tent behind her parents' Somers Point home. It's because she suffers from an ailment called Mycotoxicosis, mold poisoning. It has weakened her immune system and her internal organs.

"I get real bad muscle spasms in my face, in my eyes they'll start to shut down I get so exhausted that, my skin's burning right now."

Parker is sensitive to just about every manmade chemical in the environment. At one point she left pink fingerprints on everything she touched.

Her symptoms surfaced when she was 27-years-old but it was only in the last year that a Texas doctor diagnosed her with Mycotoxicosis. During our interview she wore a mask because even outdoors she was sensitive to Cathy Gandolfo's perfume.

"It's horrible, this is just a horrible disease or illness, it's ridiculous, and it's like no way to live."

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina as more people fell ill to mold poisoning, two pharmaceutical companies developed drugs to treat the condition.

Jen Parker has just started taking the drug, Cancidas, intravenously.

"It gets inside of your organs and flushes them out so it's going to clean out all of the toxins from the mold completely out of my body, out of my blood, llike everything."

Over the weekend there was a fundraiser held for Parker. Her insurance is paying for part of the $1,000 a week treatments but there are co-pays and other medical expenses. The event was a success but Parker couldn't attend.

Parker's life has been on hold for 4 years. She's given up her business, her home and her social life. Now she's confident that treatments will provide her with a significantly better quality of life.

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