Earlier this year, Project Homeless Connect (PHC) CEO Kara Zordel announced that she would leave the organization to focus on her health. After the announcement, Simply the Basics founder Meghan Freebeck joined PHC as acting CEO to prepare for the transition.
On Thursday, a friend created a GoFundMe campaign to help Zordel with her medical expenses. Even though she has health insurance, her medical bills have reached $30,000.
Zordel, who has been working from home in recent months, told the Chronicle she's leaving PHC next week due to her ongoing struggle with a movement and seizure disorder that hasn't been fully diagnosed.
"It became almost paralyzing to not know why my body wouldn’t cooperate and to not know if it’s always going to be this way, or if there is an answer somewhere," she told Hoodline via email.
On GoFundMe, Julia Alemany described Zordel as "the most loving, loyal, and selfless friend," adding that Zordel would appreciate any messages of support from friends, family, colleagues or strangers.
As of this writing, the campaign has raised $1,250 of its $10,000 goal from six contributors.
"Words of encouragement can have a profound impact and will give her the strength she needs to overcome any challenges that lay ahead," wrote Alemany.
Zordel said her health challenges are a reminder of how quickly life can turn upside down. "My desire for a lifetime and career of helping others turned into my needing help," she said.
Many people who are homeless struggled with health problems that contributed to housing instability, said Zordel. "Even with a generous income, the struggle is real. America is a rough place to find yourself sick."
In the near future, she said she plans give up her Bernal Heights home to move to Spain, where she plans to write about her work with the homeless and just slow down.
"I’m leaving to find healing both emotionally and physically," she said. "This health struggle has felt overwhelming in every way—career, financially, relationships, timewise, even just my pride. It’s all encompassing."
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