Mary Winstead's ALS Journey

In October 2017, our mother, sister, grandmother, and wife, Mary Winstead received the worst news one could imagine.  She was diagnosed with ALS, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.  ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time. It affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord that control your muscles. As your muscles get weaker, you lose your ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow, and eventually, to breathe.  There is no cure for ALS.

As you can imagine, this news was devastating for our family and since that day, life has dramatically changed for us.  Mary's ALS has progressed significantly and she now needs full time care around the clock.  Up to this point, this care has been divided up between her children, her husband, and her siblings.  Due to young  children of our own, full time jobs and scheduling, this system has become unsustainable.  

Mary's wishes are to spend her remaining days at home, so we are in desperate need of a professional in-home care giver.  This will allow us to spend our remaining time with Mary in the role of emotionally supportive family members, rather than full time care givers.  Equally important, it will free up time for our own families, children, and occupations.  With the limitations of our energy, financial resources, and remaining time with her, a caregiver will allow us to devote ourselves to the things that matter most: our love and our relationships with Mary.

The average life expectancy for an ALS patient is 3-5 years from the time of diagnosis.  During the end stages of the journey, full-time care is needed, but is not covered by health insurance.  The average out-of-pocket expenses for an ALS family is close to $200,000.

We have become so overwhelmed emotionally and financially, that the time has come to humbly ask for help.  We are asking for your help to build a community to help this wonderful person.  Monetary donations are what we need the most.  Donations large or small will be overwhelmingly appreciated.  Please donate what you can and get involved.  Please help us create a wonderful end-of-life experience for Mary, while at the same time raising awareness for this unfair, and life changing disease.

Mary ALS Journey 

With sincere gratitude and love:

The Winstead / Breckenridge / Enders family


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  • Mary & Dave Mittelstaedt  
    • $25 
    • 2 mos
  • Barb Willbanks 
    • $200 
    • 2 mos
  • Thomas Bartel 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Juliann Brunzell 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
  • Connie Perry 
    • $50 
    • 3 mos
See all

Fundraising team (6)

Sam Breckenridge 
Raised $12,505 from 64 donations
Minneapolis, MN
Sarah Enders 
Team member
Raised $7,160 from 50 donations
Joseph Breckenridge 
Team member
Raised $4,225 from 16 donations
Susie Breckenridge 
Team member
Raised $1,890 from 11 donations
Jason Enders 
Team member
Raised $1,795 from 7 donations
See all
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