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BrandyFrom mama Brandy, in Maryland:

I would like to share one of my stories:

My son, Darren is now 22 yrs old – just 5 months shy of his 23rd birthday.

Darren was poisoned when he was just 12 months old. After he tested positive for lead, we learned that he had been exposed to lead from when he was just a newborn.

When he was a baby and we lived in Cherry Hill, Maryland his Blood Lead Level (BLL) was a 4 at the first testing then a BLL 11 at the second. I moved from the house as soon as I found out about the lead. I had to take the landlord to court because they would not let me out of the lease.

After we moved from the house, his BLL dropped back to 6. In light of what I’ve heard from other parents of lead-poisoned children, I think he’s blessed his exposure to lead wasn’t even longer — as is the case with so many other children, but I am also so sad because of the damage that that exposure did.

My child’s life skills are “incomplete”— and observing his social difficulties really breaks my heart.

He has always had problems computing math; comprehending; reading and focusing. I can’t begin to tell you the challenges and the nights and days I spent schooling him and motivating him to get through school.

My other two children have built up a level of resentment and call him my favorite. They say, “She’ll do anything for Darren.” They don’t understand, not even when it comes to their interactions with him.

Darren graduated high school in 2010; he has since graduated a trade school in HVAC-R — all this by the very skin of his teeth. In his short life as an adult so far he has had 4 jobs and he is just getting started. I wake him in the mornings for work, as he regularly needs help with the fight to keep going, focusing and trying to be independent.

Darren recently went to a store to purchase a coat that was on sale. The lady at the register asked him if he wanted to save 15%, he said yes. So she opened a pamphlet and proceeded to set up a charge account for him. Darren thought he was getting a store coupon! He did not understand what she was saying; all he comprehended was to complete the paperwork and he would save money on the coat. The credit card came in the mail with an open credit line of $2,500….and he has not yet asked about the charge on that card which now exists from the coat he saved 15% on.  He had no understanding of “credit” – and the related fees and finances charges – so the “15% discount” is already being eaten up by interest and fees.

I was talking to my mother about this and said (only half-jokingly) that I should have him wear a patch that says “Call my Mom. She is my helper.”

What happens to these children – our children when they grow up and move about their daily travels? Who will protect them and take care of them when we are not there?

I am a very concerned/sympathetic parent about this subject.

Just wanted to share.

Thank you for reading.



Brandy’s Darren (in pink) in 2009.

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