MONTAGUE, Mich. – The house that Colleen Weesies described as her family's "dream" has turned into what she now calls her family's nightmare.
After mold was discovered inside walls on all three levels of their home, the Weesies have had to uproot their lives and move into their garage and two in their driveway.
“Frankly, I almost wish we had never moved here,” said Brad Weesies.
The family moved 10 years ago to be closer to Brad’s job. And the home sits directly across the street from the home where Brad grew up. The first sign of trouble came in the first renovation when the family tore up some carpet in the basement. “When we pulled it up, the pad was completely black,” said Colleen. “We just thought, Oh, it’s wet. We need to get this out of here. We didn’t think anything of it.”
A later renovation to the main floor bathroom revealed more signs of mold and the cause of the problem. “We did see little black rings,” said Brad. “We just assumed it was a common mold you spray and take care of.”
But it wasn’t.
The family was dealing with black toxic mold, and a lot of it.
Typical house inspections do not check for mold below surfaces for mold, only for visible signs on ceilings, walls, and floors. After the discovery in the bathroom, a specialist told the Weeises the mold had been there for somewhere between 20 and 30 years, long before it showed visible signs, and long before the family had moved in.
Living in the home no longer became a viable option, because the mold exacerbated many of the children’s previously existing health issues and presented some new ones, including Colleen’s diagnosis of lupus.
Because their insurance wouldn’t pay for the renovations because the mold wasn’t caused by a specific event like a burst pipe or ice dams, moving into the trailers was the only feasible decision the Weeises could make. They couldn’t default on their mortgage; their credit just couldn’t take the hit. They could sell the home, but then they would lose the land, too. So they moved just feet away from a home they couldn’t live in. a painful reminder of a life now changed forever.
Many of the family’s belongings had to be thrown away, too affected by the spreading mold.
“It’s almost like we had a fire,” said Brad. “We go in, and we see it all. And it hasn’t been burned up, but we have to leave it.”
Wedding pictures, bibles, birth certificates, family furniture – all gone.
The family has been living under these conditions for roughly eight weeks, and they say they are running out of options.
Amazingly enough, the one thing the mold couldn’t touch was the Weesies’ unflappable faith.
“Instead of looking at the big mountain to climb, we’re just going over little mole hills right now,” said Colleen, “just getting over each mole hill. That’s helped me put that into perspective, that we don’t have to climb the mountain. God’s going to move the mountain for us. We just have to climb the mole hills.”
If you want to lend a hand to the Weesieses, donations are being accepted through Laketon Bethel Reformed Church in Muskegon. Visit the church's website for more information on how you can make a donation.