Mint Ralston was a retired Marine. In 2017, Mint started having severe headaches that sent him to the hospital. A CT scan showed a shadow on the brain stem. In early 2019, Mint started having difficulty with fine motor skills and speech. He was seen by Duke Hospital in North Carolina, the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and numerous neurologists in Charlotte where he lives. MRIs showed a lesion on his brainstem. Heavy doses of steroids were administered to no effect. Doctors could not diagnose him without doing a biopsy but would not risk operating on his brainstem. Meanwhile, a shunt was placed in Mint’s skull to drain a constant buildup of fluid on his brain.
Prior to this, Mint was an active person who enjoyed spending time with his wife and son, especially outdoors. The effects of this illness left him unable to stand, speak, focus properly, or swallow. Despite all of these physical limitations, Mint’s intellectual capacity remained unchanged and he was completely aware of what was happening to him and his family.
Thanks to all of our donors, Operation Command was able to partner with veteran, Jeff Prowse, and general contractor, Joe Sherlock, to provide a handicapped bathroom and a rail transfer system that significantly improved his quality of life and reduced the requirement for additional caregivers. These renovations allowed him to spend his final days with his family at his side.