Last August, a record 4.57 inches of rain fell on southeast Michigan in a matter of hours, putting roads, freeways and tens of thousands of area homes underwater. Now, months later, mold is becoming an issue in many of these affected homes.

That was the case for Lotus Smith, an area school bus driver. The health effects of mold removal on average people are well-documented. According to the Environmental Protection Agency and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, living in a mold-infested home poses a health risk to dwellers in the form of headaches, breathing difficulties, persistent cough, burning or irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, or lungs, asthma attacks, skin irritation, allergic reactions and infections in immune-compromised individuals. Only Smith’s case was different – her immune system was greatly compromised from the chemotherapy treatments she was receiving to battle lung cancer. That’s where Jason Kitts and Rainbow International of Monroe enter the picture. After seeing Smith’s story on a local news station’s “Bald is Beautiful” series, Kitts took action.

“We were concerned about the amount of mold and its effect on her breathing during chemotherapy treatment,” he says. “With her compromised immune system, we knew the combination was toxic so we stepped forward to make a difference for her.”

Earlier this month, Kitts and his crew completed an assessment of Smith’s home, where they discovered that mold had spread throughout the entire basement in the drywall and structure. Along with several volunteers, they devised an extensive clean up and restoration plan that involved removing all of the water-damaged drywall, drying out all of the structure and power washing everything. The value of the four-day job to assist Smith added up to about $30,000, which they absorbed to make Smith’s home safe for her to live in, breathe in and recover from her cancer treatments in.

“The Rainbow International team did exactly what was needed to help me breathe after the sewage flooding caused mold in my home,” Smith says. “They heard about my story and teams immediately went to work cutting the walls in half, removing tiles and doing what was needed to remove the mold from my basement. People who care like that and without hesitation come to help a person who is in need… you can’t ask for more than that.

“They even had a chemist come in and test the air for mold and asbestos to make sure the air was clean and safe for me. I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me.”

Smith has now finished her cancer treatment and will have surgery in January. She couldn’t stress enough how much she appreciates the team at Rainbow for making her home a safe place to live and breathe as she battles cancer.

 “She is an awesome lady who gives back to the community, and we felt she deserved to be helped out too,” said Blake Star, Internal Operations Manager for Rainbow International of Monroe. “We did it because it feels gratifying to give back to the community, and it was especially rewarding to be able to do something for somebody who helps others.”