Larson Family Fund

$68,580 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 505 people in 65 months
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Melinda Peterson  NEWBURY PARK, CA
The Love Story Continues...

This story is about a family and their enduring love for one another in the midst of personal crisis. It is our hope that you will be touched by their story and join us in a labor of love in supporting the family and building their faith during this very difficult time.

A Fairy Tale Love Story...


It was 1985 when a handsome prince discovered his princess at a local diner in Southern California. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen, not to mention, she was the former Miss Montana in 1984. He was so smitten with her; he called his family immediately to tell them he had found his future wife.

Call it fate or divine intervention, Michele Larson accepted Mitch Larson's marriage proposal, and the bride didn't even have to change her last name (what are the chances of that!). Eleven months later, the stunning couple were married in fairy tale fashion.

Over the next several years, their life was filled with many happily ever afters. Mitch was busy building a career as a mason, while Michele enjoyed teaching music to elementary school children.  Along came four beautiful 'Larson' children and the growing family managed to buy their first home in Thousand Oaks, CA.

Life seemed almost perfect until tragedy struck.  Michele contracted Valley Fever in 1996, which had a devastating effect on the family.  Once a very happy, healthy woman, the disease severely damaged Michele's lungs, weakening her immune system and making normal everyday tasks monumental to achieve.  There were many months Michele was confined to complete bed rest.

Money was tight and stress levels were high, but nothing could detour the prince from taking care of his beautiful princess. Mitch lovingly cared for Michele and the children while continuing to work a full-time job in construction. Then without warning, Mitch began to experience some health issues too.

At first, he felt a numbness in his hands and feet. Then he started to lose his balance. Not knowing what was wrong, Mitch tried to mask his symptoms while continuing to work and support his family. Before long, his mysterious illness became impossible to hide.

After years of baffling symptoms, tests revealed a devastating diagnosis: Mitch has MSA, Multiple System Atrophy.  MSA is a neurodegenerative disease that mimics M.S., Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's Disease. Sadly, there's no remission and no cure. Mitch is now in the latter stages of this disease and is completely bed-ridden and can barely speak.

The family has chosen to personally care for Mitch, which is a full-time job for Michele. Two of their children have deferred their personal lives to help their Mom care for their Dad. In spite of their difficult circumstances, the family's faith in God remains steadfast and unwavering.

It's a fairy tale love story amidst heart-breaking circumstances with an inevitable tragic ending (although, we're still praying for a miracle). Right now, the family desperately needs your help.  After losing their home to foreclosure (because Mitch could no longer work), and living in temporary housing that also went to foreclosure, this responsible loving family was forced to move into a motel.

The family's primary source of income is disability, which barely meets their basic needs. Right now, they lack sufficient funds to rent a single-level home in the Conejo Valley. Many have asked why the family doesn't move to another less expensive area. The reason is simple, it has taken several years for the family to acquire good medical care for Mitch. That said, it's imperative the family is able to stay in the Conejo Valley and as close to Los Robles Hospital as possible.

Many have asked: What can we do to help? You can begin by considering a financial donation to this site. Rest assured; every dollar collected here goes directly to the Larson family. The most urgent need is to find a suitable home for them to rent in the Conejo Valley. In addition, all monies donated will help fund general day to day expenses for the family's basic needs, as well as for round the clock care for Mitch.

No one knows how long Mitch has to live, but we do know that his disease is progressing quickly. Every gift COUNTS, no matter how great or small! Please join us in supporting The Larson Family during this most difficult time. Mitch and Michele and their entire family would like to thank you for your unconditional love, prayers and support.

P.S. In spite of everything, Mitch continues to have a wonderful sense of humor.  He laughs and tries to tell jokes (which we barely understand because his words are so slurred). Even so, it's easy to see the light that continues to beam from his face. The disease may steal his body, but it can never steal his soul.

Love & Blessings ~ Mel

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Update 37
Posted by Mel Peterson
40 months ago
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Dear Friends,

It was two years ago that our hearts were broken after having to move Mitch Larson and his family into a motel. Terrie and I were in tears, asking God to help us so we could help Mitch. From those prayers... this site was born.

When we originally set out to find a home for Mitch and his family, we never imagined there would be such resistance in renting to a family who's breadwinner was disabled with an incurable disease. As months passed, our faith was tested with one disappointment after another. But... we never gave up hope.

With the help of Lara Vujicic Radosavcev (a wonderful Realtor in Thousand Oaks), and a co-signer, and one willing landlord, we were finally able to secure a home in Moorpark and move the family in. Then our focus quickly turned to the task of raising funds to support Mitch.

It became clear that it would take a village of caring souls to walk this journey of faith with us. Social Media provided the path, and your hearts led the way. If it weren't for your fervent prayers and unwavering financial support, we could not have accomplished what we did in raising more than $75K to support Mitch and his family.

While these past two years have been emotionally trying and tough to endure, nothing has given us more joy than to have had the honor and privilege to serve our brother Mitch and his beloved family.

1 John 3:16 says... "We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."

John 15:13 says... "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends."

Some days, when we felt most discouraged and didn't know how we would pay the next months rent, we garnered our strength from Mitch. Even in his darkest hour, and with the loss of his health, his home, his livelihood, his mobility and his speech... Mitch Larson NEVER gave up hope. He had the patience of Job, the heart of David, the strength of Samson, and the wisdom of Solomon. There's a reason God called this Warrior home... to which we may never know the answer until we meet Him face to face. But one thing is for sure... Mitch is walking with Jesus now!

Many, many thanks to each one of you who loved Mitch so much, and gave so freely to support his family. Your love and encouragement brought such peace and comfort to Mitch. Truly, we can't thank you enough for your extreme kindness and generosity!

Love & Blessings ~ Mel & Terrie

P.S. We will keep this site active for a few more weeks for anyone who would like to leave a comment for the family, and/or donate toward funeral expenses.

Here's a special message from Michele Larson, along with a link to a video tribute of Mitch.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"My beloved and best friend, Mitch, is gone from me now. He is home with his Savior and Lord and, I am sure, absolutely in love with the beauty and joys of heaven! Though the pain is beyond anything I was prepared for, I still have the most beautiful and precious memories that flood my heart and mind at the times I need them most. These memories I have because of you.

You... who have supported Mitch and me through your compassion and sacrifice of giving...
to whom it would be my highest honor to call "friend".

I thank you with my whole heart for helping me to keep him home where I could care for him through all these years. A more precious gift I have never known nor ever will.

Attached is a link of the slideshow that was played at Mitch's memorial. It includes memories of Mitch's life. Through it all, you will hear the voices of our children (starting with the oldest to the youngest: Jordan, his wife, Brittanie; Seth, Derek and Alexa) and finally, me, sharing our letters to Mitch that come from our heart. I hope you take the time to listen so you can see and hear a bit of who Mitch really was and know how much we loved him.

Here's a link to my Facebook page (which I am just learning!)( https://www.facebook.com/michele.larson.771). I would love for you to friend request me as I would appreciate knowing you and your stories better, for I know that you have gone through your trials too.

May God be your strength and may His favor be upon you!"

love,
Michele Larson

"But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hebrews 11:6 (One of Mitch's favorites :)
Michele Larson
Tribute to Mitch Larson
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Update 36
Posted by Mel Peterson
41 months ago
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Mitch Larson's Memorial Service will be held on Tuesday, September 15th, at 3:00pm at Lighthouse Church, 3353 Old Conejo Rd., Newbury Park, CA.

Please join us in honoring and celebrating a life well lived... Mitch Larson, a brave soul with a huge heart, who was loved by many ❤️
Mitch Larson
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Update 35
Posted by Mel Peterson
41 months ago
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Dear Friends,

It is with profound sadness that I share with you the news of Mitch's passing. Mitch went to be with the Lord peacefully in his sleep the evening of Sept. 9, surrounded by his loving wife and children.

A memorial service for Mitch is being planned and the information will be posted on this site as soon as we have a definitive date/time/place.

Your comments and contributions have brought enormous encouragement to the Larson family over these past two years. I have never seen such an outpouring of love from so many... it has meant the world to me (and to Terrie & family) that you loved Mitch and his family so much and that you were willing to support them during this difficult battle. Words cannot adequately express the gratitude we feel in knowing the impact you had on their lives and ours. Thank you for your prayers, kind words, and financial contributions. You truly made a difference... every one of you!

Please keep the Larson family in your prayers. We will continue to keep this site active for several weeks for those of you who would like to help donate toward funeral expenses. You may also leave words of encouragement and remembrances of Mitch here for the family. Michele will write a final post in the coming weeks.

Love and blessings,

~ Mel


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Update 34
Posted by Mel Peterson
41 months ago
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Dear Mitch,

I’m amazed... amazed by your strength, amazed by your spirit, and amazed by your joy in the midst of crisis. These adjectives touch lightly to the person you truly are. It’s no stretch of the imagination to say… You’re a fighter!

I’ve seen your kind before… in a much smaller package… 5ft4” and 95 lbs to be exact. She was small, but she was mighty. Your smile reminds me of her. She could light up a room with that smile… just like YOU!

You were both given a disease you didn’t deserve. You have both faced it with sheer determination and optimism. You two/too are the most amazing individuals I have ever met.

It’s an honor to know you Mitch. It’s an honor to love your family. And it’s an honor to continue to fight for you. Stay strong my friend.

Heart Hugs ~ Mel

Note to Friends & Family:
While the 'Fund' continues to show a rolling balance, all of the financial gifts have been fully exhausted to care for Mitch at home for the past 2 years. Every month, we pray to raise additional funds to pay for the Larson’s rent., and every month we’re blessed by your generosity. We simply can’t thank you enough! Will you join us in continuing to provide for this wonderful man and his family?
Mitch teasing Mel (lol) - 1978
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$68,580 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 505 people in 65 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created September 17, 2013
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MF
$25
marc forman
24 months ago
MS
$50
Maren Schukai
29 months ago

God bless and all the best on your journey!

$40
Anonymous
39 months ago
$300
Anonymous
39 months ago (Monthly Donation)
SK
$500
Sandra Krause
39 months ago

Dearest Michelle and Family, I wish I could have made this donation a long time ago - or even regular donations while Mitch was a live. I just wasn't able to. I know Mitch will always be alive in memories and his spirit and I hope that fills your heart and soul as you grapple with his death. With love, your second cousin, Sandy

$25
Cindy Warner
39 months ago

Michele, though we've never met face to face I think of you as family. We have spoken so many times on the phone and when I got your message today my heart broke hearing the news that Mitch had passed. Please stay strong and if you just want a listening ear you know where to find me.

$300
Anonymous
40 months ago
RS
$50
Robin Slattum
40 months ago

Your heart will go on Michelle. How can it not? You've got Mitch with you and the inner strength that is fueled by your deep faith. I look forward to running into you so I can give you a big hug & we can cry together. We always seemed to do that--didn't we? The love that you and Mitch instilled in your children goes beyond amazing. Hold tight to that and never let go. May God continue to bring comfort, peace, and strength as you journey through this difficult time. I'm sending loads of love your way.

$100
Anonymous
40 months ago
MG
$500
Mary Kunn Gispan
40 months ago

Pray er rs g or you all Michelle. I have walked in the same shoes as you. May God continue to comfort, lift and carry you. Mary (Maltby) Kunn Gispan. RMC Class 1987

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