In 1995, while working for the telephone company in New York, Steven E. Danish became ill after an accidental inhalation of poisonous gas and became a victim of Chemical Sensitivity. His immune system can no longer tolerate the vapors and smells of almost everything around us: carpeting, dry cleaning, perfume, cologne, deodorants, and clothing not made of natural fibers. Plastics and rayon became his enemies. Doctors were ignorant about Chemical Sensitivity and of little help.
Many people were prejudiced, unsympathetic, and thought that Steven was faking his illness. Poverty was a possible threat for Steven and his wife Diane as Steven lost his ability to earn a living. Even today, he cannot enter most public buildings without wearing a respirator mask, and this only allows him the ability to stay there for a short period of time. Steven still becomes ill, the mask just allows him to stay in public buildings a little longer. Visitors to the Danish home are asked not to use cologne or perfume and to use deodorants and shampoos without fragrances.
In Steven's world of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and his battle with the disease, there is only one rule: "Never give up." It was also the guiding rule for Grandma, Edna, and Sydell in Growing Pains with Grandma.