According to a story from CBS Minnesota, the Wahlstrom family has been hit hard by a deadly rare illness called Batten disease. Parents Todd and Laura’s two children, Drew and Lydia, were born with the disease. As their illness progresses, the children will need more and more assistance, but meeting the needs of the two sick children is already becoming difficult. Years ago, the family began seeking assistance in order to find a handicap accessible home.
About Batten Disease
Batten disease is a nervous system disorder that tends to appear between the ages of five and ten years. This neurodegenerative disease is caused by mutations which affect the CLN3 gene. Girls tend to display symptoms later than boys, but their disease tends to progress more rapidly. Diagnosis is often difficult. Symptoms include seizures, vision problems, repetitive speech, learning regression or delays, scoliosis, decreased muscle and body fat, changes to personality and behavior, poor coordination, and speech loss. Symptoms generally progress over time. There is only one drug for Batten disease that can slow progression, but it is only effective in certain cases. Most treatment is supportive, and the disease is ultimately lethal. There is a dire need for more effective therapies to improve survival times and outcomes for patients with Batten disease. To learn more about Batten disease, click here.
The Wahlstrom’s Story
The Wahlstrom’s first sought assistance through a non-profit organization called Journey Home Minnesota, but after a year and a half the organization shut down and its founder, Blake Huffman, is officially under investigation in Ramsey County. The money that was donated to the cause disappeared. Unfortunately, this meant precious time wasted for the family, as it unclear how much longer the children will be able to survive. Todd and Laura just want to make their children’s lives as comfortable as possible.
The family has started selling T-shirts and bracelets in order to start collecting donations again. If you would like to help out the Wahlstrom family, you can donate to their GoFundMe here.
Donations can also be sent to the following address:
Wahlstrom Family House Benefit
4886 Highway 61 North
White Bear Lake, MN 55110