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By Harriet Turner

My mother came from a large family of ten children.


Out of this family one sister married and had four children: two daughters and two sons who died tragically; one at 12 by drowning, the other at 16 from a heart attack while playing basketball.


Her husband also died young, working as a Great Northern Railroad train signalman. 


The two daughters lived into adulthood. The oldest daughter came down with what was thought to be Multiple Sclerosis. She became disabled and wheelchair bound. Unable to speak and in need of complete care, she was placed in Fergus Falls State Hospital.

Eventually, she was diagnosed with Huntington's disease (HD). She choked to death eating a piece of bread.


Her name was Maxine. She died in 1968 at the age of 48.


Maxine’s younger sister, Glee lived longer, until the age of 72. She, too, died from HD, but in 1997. Glee was also completely disabled, unable to speak, and bedridden for nearly 20 years.


Out of my mom's siblings, it was only this sister who had the two daughters diagnosed with HD. Therefore, it was passed on by their father. He was an orphan, and never knew his parents.


This explains my gratitude for the work everyone is doing at Harvest Hope Farm. It is exciting to be a small part of this project by supporting my first lamb, named Maxine, in honor of my older cousin, Maxine. I would like the next one to be named in honor of her sister­­ — my cousin, Glee. These cousins and their family suffered greatly.


Maxine and Glee each had a child who now have extended family. So far, no one in their families have been diagnosed with HD.


It is our great hope, along with the Kotrba family and all involved, that through these little lambs, a cure is found to end the suffering caused by this disease. 

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