Mom (Kathy Begnaud) passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family on March 8, 2019, after a courageous battle with ALS. It was only about 18 months after her diagnosis of this dreadful disease in August 2017. Born December 17, 1951 in Fort Frances, Ontario, to James and Marilyn Lynch, she was the oldest of eleven children. Married the love of her life Blake Begnaud on August 14, 1971. Together, they raised five boys, Toby (Ann-Marie), Tommy, Joe (Angie), Mick (Sarah), and Aaron (Samantha).
The family would like to extend their gratitude and love to the many who supported Kathy during her battle with ALS. Among them, Dr. David Walk, ALS Clinic at University of Minnesota; Anne S, Jennifer M, and everyone at the ALS Association; the infusion nurses at Fairview; the hospice team at Fairview; the nursing team at Pillars Hospice Home; and of course, the countless friends and family who sent cards, food, prayers, and helped in her care.
Kathy was a beacon of love to countless, and in so many ways. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Sister. Daughter. Friend.
She loved her grandkids immensely, from teaching them clothes-pin-doll making, to recommending the next GREAT book they should read, to spoiling them with shopping trips for their favorite clothes, garage sale treasures, or giving the OK on a brownie for breakfast. The immeasurable love for her grand babies was mirrored only by her love for God. Her heart was broken with her ALS diagnosis, but what pained her the most was the thought of missing her grandbabies grow and how much she’ll miss them. The boys got to see all over again what a great mother she was when the grandchildren came along. She was amazed with how talented they all are, so smart, so strong, so funny and silly, so full of life and laughter, so beautiful. Just like Mom. They will miss her and will never forget their Grammy.
She was a faith-filled disciple of Jesus Christ. As an active participant of Guardian Angels Catholic Church for more than forty years, her voice was heard through lay preaching, music ministry, and as an advocate for social justice. She was a prolific writer and a lover of literature, maintaining even to the end her ranked and categorized archive of the hundreds of books she’d read through the years. Her sons would say that she combined the science of story-telling with the art of embellishing like none other. She loved to experience life, from the summers with Blake and the boys fishing and swimming at Lake Minnewawa; to the outrageous “Virginia Slims” weekends with her sisters; from quick getaways with Blake to Laughlin to try their luck at video poker; to winters of food, music, and laughter with the Begnaud-Richards in Scott, LA; and so, so many more.
It’s impossible to summarize here who Kathy was: the passions that drove her, the faith that filled her, the lives on which she has left an indelible imprint on their hearts, in their minds, and in their actions. If you knew her, you know. Instead, we share below a few short excerpts of Kathy’s own words from her years as a preacher and writer, if it may help in your own reflection and healing.
From a homily asking, “How might our lives change if we knew the day and time of our own deaths?”, she reflected: “For our walls too get old and sag, our plumbing weakens, our electrical currents will slow down. The day will come when we too with crumble. We come together each week with that sure knowledge buried somewhere in the back of our minds; hoping this is not “our week”, hoping we are working out our lives’ purpose in God’s eyes, praying for the grace to see the longer view and our place in it. And we do have a vital place in it. The work we are called to cannot be accomplished in one hour a week, the work we are called to cannot be accomplished in this hour, this is our refueling. The work we are called to cannot be delegated. Every hand and voice is needed. Every ear must hear.”
From a homily, reflecting on the Father’s commandment “This I command you: love one another” she spoke: “Remaining in the Lord’s love will call upon us for sacrifices – some heroic, to love folks we never thought we’d unite with so that we too act with courage and openly wear a Star of David or rainbow sash or carry a picket sign. That we openly criticize injustice, even criticize our own country, our own church when necessary. In the end, to remain means that we can no longer remain who we once were, can no longer think as we once thought, that we cannot be separated from Him, and that we too will take wing and soar.”
From a short essay “For Aiden”, inspired by her eldest grandchild, she concluded: “Now grandchildren give me a second chance, a double-take on love; for surely God loves like a grandmother or grandfather. Grandparenthood (along with increasing age and decreasing stamina) has opened my eyes to a purer form of love, a love utterly free of expectations, completely and joyously unencumbered by disappointments of any kind. This is the love that has the power to stop wars and transcend evil, if we allow it. This is the love that opens the window through which we see the world and even see ourselves with the eyes of God and after putting on that new vision we come to understand that the only question that matters at all, in the end, is: How well did you love?”
The Begnaud family cannot thank our supporters enough. This was a tough battle, but family, friends and medical professionals helped keep us together through the end. We are channeling Kathy’s faith to know this was God’s calling, but we miss her tremendously and love her dearly.
Please help us beat this wretched disease and help those struggling with ALS in need of a helping hand.
On May 11th our team will be participating in the SuperHero 5k/10k Dash, an event designed to raise funds in support of those with ALS throughout our region. The event offers 5k & 10k runs, a 5k walk and a kids dash. We are reaching out to you because we need your help to reach our team fundraising goal. Together, we can support those living with Lou Gehrig's Disease while spreading awareness of the urgency to find treatments that will lead to a cure.
This is a great time to get your family, friends, colleagues and neighbors involved and become SuperHeroes! Please consider the difference that you might be able to make in the lives of people affected by this disease.
Join our team and become a part of The SuperHero Dash
Simply click the red "Join Team" button at the top of this team page.
Make a donation
1) Click the red "Donate Now" button at the top of this team page to support our overall team fundraising goals; or
2) Select one of our superhero participants to support their personal fundraising goals and the overall team goal. Click their name in the Team Roster section above, then you'll see "Donate Now" on their personal page to donate on their behalf.
Regardless, all the money donated from this page will support our team's overall goal.
Why Your Help Matters...
Also referred to as Lou Gehrig's Disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive, fatal neuromuscular disease that slowly takes away the body's ability to walk, speak, swallow and breathe. There is currently no cure for the disease with life expectancy averaging 2 to 5 years from the time of diagnosis.
Due to the rapid progression of ALS, the needs of someone living with the disease evolve rapidly over a short period of time. Often times insurance does not cover durable medical equipment, so The ALS Association utilizes a loan pool that allows people to access equipment at no charge. Caregivers often need a break, so The ALS Association pays for skilled home care workers to give those caregivers time. The ALS Association also provides augmentative communication devices that are critical when someone's ability to speak has been compromised.
All of these supports help individuals and families impacted by ALS live the fullest life possible, which is why we're asking you to support our fundraising efforts or join our team.