I have an urgent request from my readers.
For the past couple years I have been good friends with Theresa Weiler and gotten to know her family. Theresa has a daughter, Maria, who goes by Mars and who is a brilliant artist. Mars’s gift is drawing whimsical pictures and cartoons that a grown-up artist who went all the way through design school would be proud to create, though Mars is only eleven and self-taught. I’m fascinated to see how much farther Mars will go and the wonderful things she’ll create as her talent develops. Mars is also a loving, playful big sister to her siblings, though she hasn’t been able to play with them very often lately.
For the past year, Mars has suffered from a crippling case of obsessive-compulsive disorder. She can no longer play with her siblings and has barely been able to go to school– right now she can hardly come out of her room. She hyperventilates and panics when she tries to interact with other people and has to wear a mask due to fear of germs. The isolation and hopelessness of living like this has led her to self-harm and suicidal ideation, and she’s been in and out of hospitals and therapy programs for a year. It’s no exaggeration to say that her life is in danger.
Theresa and her husband, Ron, are doing everything in their power to help Mars heal, but they are running out of resources in their own community. They’re also out of money. They weren’t rich to begin with and have had to take a great deal of time off work in the past year. But they haven’t given up.
The next thing they’re going to try, is a few months’ stay at Rogers Hospital in Wisconsin. Trust me when I say this is not a matter of parents giving up and abandoning their afflicted child in an institution. Rogers Hospital is one of the only hospitals in the country with a special program designed to treat the severest OCD in children, and Ron and Theresa are going to drive the six hours to visit her whenever they can. Their insurance might pay for a little of this hospital stay, but it’s not going to do very much and will probably try to force an early discharge. They’re going to have to find a way to pay for this themselves.
My friends have started a gofundme to raise the necessary money to get Mars’s treatment, and to pay for the time off work and lodging they’ll need to visit her while she’s there. I’m begging you, in any way you can, please help. I want to see Mars grow up in freedom and enrich the world with her beautiful art and unique self.
(image via Pixabay)