Saturday, October 18, 2008

Healing Holly

Thank you for reading and contributing to the Survivor Manual. My work started and continues because of the people like you who support it. I meet heroes daily from all walks of life. What started out as a simple project of interviewing women who shared my name turned into a bond with thousands of people of all ages, races, and religions.

As I write another movie and work on my comedy show, I continue to speak around the country, consult other writers and filmmakers on their projects, and provide inspiration and avenues towards healing and awareness. I have just met another hero among you and I want to tell you about her and request your help, hope, and heart.

I started my comedy cooking show, Stirring Up Trouble, to have some balance in my life after years of working in the trauma world. I have been contacted by many of you asking for recipes and wanting to be a part of the show, one of whom is a girl named Holly. Holly emailed me, offering help on the new website. After checking out her online community for women, healing and feminist blogs, I could tell that she knew what she was doing, so I accepted her offer. She added those cute little buttons so that you can now forward the show to your friends on myspace, facebook, stumble it, digg it, or post it on delicious. Check out what she did at

Holly sent me an email telling me that the site was live and apologized for being out of communication for a bit. She said that she'd been sleeping an unusual amount and felt groggy. I, knowing some of her story of child sexual abuse, asked her if she was using sleep as a coping mechanism. Many times when things come up that we have a hard time facing, we will go to sleep, literally. I suggested that she write about that on her healing blog and I would put it on the Survivor Manual.

But the reasons for Holly's unusual sleep patterns go much deeper than coping. It turns out that Holly has Periodontal Disease, which is a gum disease that swells your gums up to the point where they become inflamed and hurt very badly. Periodontal Disease releases toxins through your gums that you swallow all the time. The reason Holly has begun sleeping so much is because these toxins are beginning to get worse and are making her nauseous. I looked up Periodontal Disease and found that if it is left untreated it can lead to a seizure or a heart attack. Recently Holly told me that she has been feeling electric-like surges throughout her face.

The reason I'm writing this is because this all began with child abuse. When Holly was a young child, not only was her mother selling her to men for sexual favors to be able to afford her drug addiction, but Holly's mother was also violent. She pushed Holly into the street one day when Holly was about 3. Holly fell, hit her face on a street curb, and all of her front teeth pushed into her gums. She had to get them surgically removed.

Holly's front teeth didn't grow back in until she was around 8 and when they did, they grew in extremely crooked and her mouth produced more teeth than would fit. To top it off, Holly's wisdom teeth are coming in. One of them is all the way grown in and another that is growing in now. Why am I telling you all of this? Because Holly is uninsured and cannot afford to get any of this fixed. She's been trying to take odds and ends jobs but the pain is keeping her from working as much as she could. Holly's father was paying child support plus the court costs and lawyer costs to try to get Holly and her younger sister away from their mother, so there was no money to get Holly's teeth fixed when she was young and they have continued to worsen. Holly has tried getting on welfare, free clinics, and sliding scale clinics, and every time they either don't have enough oral surgeons for all the help she needs or she makes too much or too little money.

I know what it's like to not have insurance and not be able to pay for health care. A few years ago I had such an intense asthma attack that I had to be rushed to the hospital. Because I was unable to breathe, I was rushed right into the emergency room. It was after I was put onto a breathing machine and stabilized that I was brought all the paperwork to sign. I began to cry when the nurse asked which insurance I had. Not only was I not insured but there was no way I was able to pay for a hospital bill. The nurse had seen my documentary and knew what I did and who I was. She was an angel in my life and erased any trace of me having been in the hospital and I never received a bill. She also provided me with some free inhalers before I left. I don't know what I would have done at the time if that nurse had not miraculously shown up.

I wouldn't tell you about Holly if she wasn't a warrior and a hero. She has done so much for Women's rights, helping other survivors heal, and setting up websites for amazing women - like myself! Just like people have helped me along the way, I am going to help Holly and I am asking for your help. I'm asking that all of us pitch in and get Holly's teeth fixed. If I could simply write a check and make her bills disappear I would. But I have not gotten rich by dedicating my life to helping others. I am rich in Spirit from knowing so many of you but the bank account has not caught up yet. So I set up a paypal email under so we can all chip in. I realize that we're in a financial crisis and because of that we are all going to need to bond together as a community more and more in the future.

The gist of Holly's story is in an interview she did for her local newspaper in 2007 here :

If Holly doesn't get the Periodontal Disease taken care of, she could die from a seizure or a heart attack because of all of the toxins her mouth produces. If I had not had that angel for a nurse I would not have been able to breathe - literally. I care about this girl and I want to help her. Healing Holly is not going to solve all of the problems in the world but it will be one amazing story with a happy ending that I personally really want to see.

Please be one of Holly's angels! The many procedures she needs are going to be very expensive so any amount helps. If everyone who gets this gave a little something - we may save a life! I have been speaking to one of the top dentists in Beverly Hills but if there are any dental surgeons around the world, Holly will fly wherever she needs to in order to fix this painful problem. The donations are gifts and not tax write-offs. If you or someone you know is part of a non-profit willing to collect and donate the money as well, please help.

You can contact me directly at and put Healing Holly in the subject. Go to and send money to or use this button: