Brittney Cares: The Collins Family

Two years ago, the world changed for Preston, Lara, and Elena Collins.

Preston, a loving father, working in commercial heating and air, was dealing with an achy knee. Like you or I, wrote it off as nothing serious, wear and tear or an old football injury. A few days later, Preston fell over in the parking lot following a boot camp workout. 

He figured it was nothing serious, merely pushing too hard in the gym coupled with his painful knee.

But odd occurrences started to pile up.

A few weeks later, Preston developed a case of drop foot. A gait abnormality, drop foot often occurs due to irritation or damage of a nerve in the lower leg. The nerve damage prevents you from optimally using the muscles of the lower leg, causing the foot to drop and making walking near impossible without a brace.

Could Preston have a nerve issue or disk injury perhaps?

After seeking out the help of a local chiropractor and no apparent injury, the Collins family was left with more questions than answers.  At the behest of doctors, the Preston family was recommended to seek blood work to rule out underlying neurological issues.

The shocking news came shortly thereafter, in the fall of 2016. 

Preston Collins was diagnosed with ALS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and given three to five years to live.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, ALS is a progressive neuromuscular disease characterized by the degenerative of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. When your motor neurons can no longer communicate effectively with muscles, atrophy, or muscle loss and weakness begins. Though ALS doesn’t hinder intelligence, reasons, sight, smell, taste, or vision, it aggressively spreads through the body before eventually, attacking your autonomic nervous system and the automated human functions, like breathing.

ALS is a brutal disease and doesn’t discriminate. 

In as many as 90% of ALS diagnosis, there is no underlying detectable cause of this harsh disease. In Preston’s case, he happens to be a carrier of a genetic form of ALS.  Researchers are hopeful that with time and research on genetic forms of ALS, they’ll be able to provide breakthroughs into improving care, treatment, and eventually a cure for ALS. Preston has already made the selfless decision to donate his body to ALS research.

Nearly three years since the original diagnosis, Preston, his wife, and primary caregiver Lara, and daughter Elena are fighting each day. Prestons’ spirit and attention to detail remain high, even as his body betrays him.

Treating ALS is prohibitively expensive and demanding. There is little training to prepare someone for the rigors of around the clock care, let alone pay for ventilators, mobility aids, feeding devices, and eventually, ventilators, especially while managing a household and providing for a family.

As Lara explained, many insurance companies are hesitant to insure and cover care for ALS patients due to liability risks. As a result, families are often required to spend obscene amounts of money and time on providing their loved ones with the service and care they need.

While the Collins’ family is staying positive, enjoying the small moments together, bills are mounting on top of the stress of caring for Preston as ALS progresses.

Like ALS, family tragedies can strike at any time. In 1999, Kim and Lin Logan lost their daughter, Brittney. In honor of Brittney’s memory and giving nature, Kim and Lin formed the Brittney Cares Charity to honor her memory and support others.

Each month, agents on the Kim and Lin Logan Team can donate a portion of each paycheck to Brittney Cares. The donation is matched by Kim and Lin and donated to help those in need.

Once Traci Nelson told the story of the Lara, Elena, and Preston Collins to the Kim and Lin Logan Real Estate team, we knew we had to make a difference. As a buyers agent, Aleisha Kerschner said, “I’ve seen ALS in my own family and understand the expense and how painful it is.” 

On August 12th, Lauren Launius and Lara P Collins came to the Eatonton office and shared their story. As ALS continues to attack Preston’s body, it’s abundantly clear there is no attacking the family Collins spirit. Ever positive and strong, eleven-year-old Elena and Lara take each day step by step, treasuring each day together.

Through Brittney cares, we were fortunate to provide a helping hand to the Collins family. As the disease progresses, stress mounts and expenses pile up.

This donation provides a funds to aid in Preston’s treatment and hopefully, helps the Collins family enjoy more precious moments together.

If you’d like to donate and help the Collins family, we encourage you to do so. This donation is a small gesture we hope will make a big difference.

You may send donations to ALS and the Preston family to Lara P Collins at 1081 Wildflower Way in Madison, Georgia 30650 or through their personal GoFundMe Page, located here.

What you do and leave behind is the legacy you create. If you’d like to learn more about Brittney Cares, please head to:

Brittney Cares Donation