Mint Ralston is a retired Marine who lives with his wife, Stacy, and their 8 year old son. Until recently, he was physically active his entire life and enjoyed the outdoors and spending quality time with his family.
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.
Mint’s decline has accelerated. He can no longer walk or stand and is wheelchair bound. He has lost his ability to speak and cannot communicate beyond “yes” or “no” that he conveys through hand squeezes. He lost control of his eye focus and can no longer read or watch TV . His ability to swallow is almost gone resulting in the recent insertion of a feeding tube. Mint’s intellectual capacity remains unchanged, and he is completely aware of what is happening to him and his family.
In September 2021, a neurosurgeon at the Mayo Clinic in Florida offered to do a biopsy since Mint’s quality of life had deteriorated so much that surgery was worth the risk. Unfortunately, results came back inconclusive, and there are no treatment options moving forward. This is Mint’s life now. Stacy is still working with the VA to increase Mint’s disability rating, and resources from the VA will not increase unless Mint’s rating changes.
This is where we all come in. Mint and his family will need to make the house handicap accessible. They will need specialized equipment, such as a speech machine, so Mint can be an active participant in his young son’s life.
Thanks to all of our donors, Operation Command has partnered with veteran, Jeff Prowse, and general contractor, Joe Sherlock, to provide a handicapped bathroom and a rail transfer system that will significantly improve his quality of life and reduce the requirement for additional caregivers.
If you would like to give directly to the Ralston family, please visit the Go Fund Me page at the link below.