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THURSTON COUNTY, Wash. When 18-year-old Jessicah Goodwin collapsed and died at River Ridge High School last month, her mother tried to stay strong for the rest of the family.

I just felt like I was existing, said Alisha Powers.

But after her oldest daughter, 21-year-old Janelle Goodwin, died three weeks later, Powers was unable to stay positive.

I m not the same, Powers sid. My heart is shattered.

Both of her daughters suffered from myotonic muscular dystrophy, just like their father.

If I shake your hand, I can t let go, said Joe Goodwin, who was diagnosed with the disease nearly 20 years ago.

Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said the deaths appear to be natural, likely caused by the disease, but the office is waiting for lab results before deciding on a cause of death.

Doctor Valerie Qwik, from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA), said it is unusual for women in their teens or twenties to die from the disease, but it s not unheard of.

Dying young was not something Alisha Powers feared might happened to her daughters.

You re never ready to say good-bye to your kids, said Powers.

The family is having a hard time raising money for a second funeral within a month. They have set up a fund at all Wells Fargo Bank Branches under an account named Janelle and Jessicah Goodwin.

If the family gets more donations than they need for the service, they will give those funds to the MDA.

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