GREER, S.C. (FOX Carolina) – When the Brockinton family made the move from Florida to South Carolina in 2014, they knew the Sugar Creek neighborhood was exactly where they wanted to be.
“It was our dream neighborhood,” Ashley Brockinton told FOX Carolina. “We were just really happy.”
After a couple of years, they noticed that each member of the family experienced some type of health issue – physical, mental or both.
“I had a sense that maybe there was something environmental…but we had no sign,” Brockinton said.
Doctors had encouraged them to test the home for mold or other toxins but nothing showed up. It wasn’t until February, when the kitchen floor started to swell, that a moldy smell became apparent. A more comprehensive test that predicts mold levels based on dust samples revealed the family was living in a toxic environment. The test indicated there was more than twice the allowable level of mold in the house, so they moved out.
“We had no idea that we would go into debt,” Brockinton said.
Removing the mold, living out of hotels and replacing their possessions (after being forced to throw out 80-percent of what they owned) exhausted the family’s resources. The Brockintons turned to their church for help, which is covering the cost of their rental townhouse through October. The couple is rebuilding their gutted home with by themselves under the guidance of Andy Pace with the Green Design Center, who is providing his expertise on healthy and non-toxic building materials for free.
Sam Brockinton said this has been a learning experience for the family’s five children – Isabella, 16, Olivia, 14, Liam, 11, Isaiah, 9, and Malachi, 8.
“I hope that we come together as a family more and more in that they see how God provides for us and shows up,” he said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Brockintons to help them with their remaining expenses. The family hopes to return to their home before the school year begins.
“I’m very hopeful. I know that every time I pray about it, I feel like I get this sense that God is like, ‘I put you here for a reason. Stop freaking out,’” Sam Brockinton said.
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