A Montana Family’s Battle: “We Can Only Do So Much for Grant”
If you caught our friend Michael Foth's story earlier in the week, he had a great report about an upcoming cattle sale in Billings where ranchers from all across the state are coming together for a good cause.
The "Calves to Cure DMD All Class Cattle Sale" is coming up September 15th at the Billings Livestock Commission.
I was able to chat with Paul Heaton. His son Grant is only 8 years old and has been diagnosed with a rare disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This fundraising cattle sale is going to benefit DMD research.
Paul Heaton: It's a genetic disease that mainly affects boys. What it is, it's a mutation on the dystrophin gene, and that's the longest gene in the human body. What dystrophin does is protects your muscles as it grows. When you or I are doing something- if we're working out, we break down muscle and it builds back stronger, boys with Duchenne their muscles break down and turn into scar tissue. And it's all muscles. I mean, you need muscles to breathe. Your heart is a muscle. Every single muscle in your body is affected by Duchenne.
Some of you dropped your kids off at school this week, and you realized how big they're getting- how there's only so much time before they grow up and they move out of the house. The clock is ticking.
The clock is ticking for the Heaton family as well, unless a cure is found for DMD.
Paul Heaton: Our son Grant is eight years old, and he has it. He was diagnosed when he was three. And usually that's about the time boys are diagnosed, three to five generally. They kind of walk a little funny, kind of have a John Wayne roll to their gaits, big, big calves- their muscles turning into scar tissue, a lot of falling and tripping. And then we're still in the stage where we're trying to conserve as much muscle, keeping walking as long as possible. Usually around age 12 they're in a wheelchair. And then most boys with it don't make it out of their 20s.
Here's the audio of our full chat with Paul Heaton: