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Memorial for Kristy Plunkert

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Hi, my name is Victoria (Tori) Hippensteel, and I am Kristy Plunkert's youngest daughter. I wanted to create a fundraiser for my mom who is in desperate need of any sort of help. It all started last March of 2022 when we noticed that my mom started to have slurred speech. We didn't think anything of it, until one day she was at work, and she collapsed from being extremely fatigued. She then took a leave from work on May 14th, 2022 and has not returned since. Each month went on and she continued to get worse. She started walking with a cane to help support her, which then lead to a walker, and now she cannot walk at all. We have to physically pick her up, and move her to a wheelchair to move her around. She went from being able to walk outside to work on her flower beds, to now being couch/bedridden. She was able to put together all her Harry Potter legos that she so ever enjoyed doing, to reading books, going on her phone, writing, and everything that we do with our hands. Now, she has lost all her ability in her hands to do any of that. My mom always enjoyed a nice hot cup of tea every single morning with some sort of cookie or danish. March 26th, 2023 she had to get surgery to put a feeding tube in her stomach because she lost her ability to be able to swallow liquids/chew foods and started to become very dehydrated and malnourished from lack of nutrition. My mom has been to doctor after doctor, a neurologist, and an osteopathic medicine doctor. She has had every test in the medical book done. We have taken her to Lancaster, Harrisburg, York, and Hershey. All to be told for a year now, that my mom has been suffering from "long term covid". My mom has ALWAYS been an extremely healthy person until she got hit with all of this. The only thing that runs in her family, is ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Her mother (my grandmother) died from ALS back in 2008. She also had a grandfather (my grandmother's dad) die from ALS along with 4 other uncles. My mom's husband Gabe Plunkert has been on point with these doctors through this whole process and made sure to bring up ALS in every single appointment to make sure what my mom has been experiencing wasn't that. Knowing my mom's family history and how ALS runs in her family, these doctors pushed it under the rug and wanted to act like all her symptoms were "long-term covid". Not going to lie, hearing that was a breath of relief, even though it quite didn't make sense. So, we had hope that maybe they were right. But as my mom continued to be severely worse, Gabe knew we had to keep doing more and pushing these doctors to figure out what on earth is going on. One day, Gabe called my mom's neurologist asking what more we could do because my mom wasn't getting better. All, they told him was "take her to the ER if you feel she needs that". From that, Gabe knew he had to figure this out on his own. So, he thought why not try getting my mom into a rehab facility since at this point she needed around-the-clock care, maybe this would help get her strength back since these doctors kept telling us she has "long-term covid". We were able to get her into a center, and not even 24 hours after her being there, the facilities doctor spent 6 hours at his home all on his own looking over my mom's medical history, shaking his head. He came right in to see my mom on his day off. Gabe and my sister Ashley were visiting my mom, and he told them the worst news ever. Gabe and Ashley immediately called me to come straight to the center. Of course, I am freaking out. I get there and I could tell everyone was crying. I drop my things, and they told me that my mom has been suffering this whole time from ALS. I lose it, my mom loses it, my sister loses it, and my stepdad loses it. Talk about someone taking your heart out and stomping on it. Every sense of hope that we held onto for a year now, was gone. If you don't know much about ALS, it is one of the most horrible diseases and it is not curable. Dr. Chapman from my mom's facility that she was at, said he wanted to have one more EMG test done just to be sure. My mom only had 1 EMG test done. which was done at the end of July 2022 and it was only on her legs. Her original doctor should have done her whole body, and done an EMG test at least every 3 months considering my mom's family history of ALS. We did not know any of this until we meant Dr. Chapman at this rehab center. On March 20th, 2023 Gabe, Ashley, and I took my mom down to Maryland where Dr. Chapman referred us, to get a thoroughly done EMG test on my mom to confirm ALS. Within 24 hours, Dr. Chapman told us it is ALS, the Bulbar kind. Which is the worst case of ALS. The symptoms associated with swallowing, speech, and respiration. Bulbar-onset ALS tends to progress faster than limb-onset ALS. That means that these people with ALS experience a faster decline, and shorter survival — often less than two years. My mom is going on 13 months now. The medical field has SEVERLY failed, my mother. She should have been taken more seriously. She could have been on ALS medication months ago to slow down her symptoms and maybe put more length onto her life. If it wasn't for Gabe's decision to put her into a rehab facility and us running into an amazing doctor like Dr. Chapman, we would still be struggling to figure out what was going on with my mom. Since being told the devastating news, Gabe, Ashley, and I have taken a leave from our jobs to care for my mom since she needs around-the-clock care. We have put our lives on hold to be there for my mom as best as we can, while we still have her. We recently got a hospital bed for my mom to be more comfortable at home. We are in the process of adding to their bathroom a handicapped shower to make it easier to wash my mom. We are still in need of a lot of things to help make it easier to care for my mom so we can keep her at home, where she wants to be. Our lives have forever changed because of this, and will never be the same. We love her more than any words out there. Please help us in any way you can whether you can donate something, you can simply say all the prayers possible for her and us, or share her story. We appreciate everything. Thank you <3


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Organizer and beneficiary

Victoria Hippensteel
Littlestown, PA
Gabriel Plunkert

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