Man suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease

By Deanna Wakkinen, I-O Reporter

Cathy Roach DeBoo, of Valier, remembers clearly the phone call she got from her brother and the day he said, “I can’t run anymore.”

Mike Roach, of Fairfield, suffers from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). ALS is also commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease because of the famous baseball player that was diagnosed with it in 1939.

ALS is a serious neurological disease that causes muscle weakness, disability and eventually death. Worldwide, ALS occurs in 1 to 3 people per 100,000. In the vast majority of cases (90 to 95 percent) doctors are unsure of why ALS occurs.

ALS most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 40 and 60. It occurs slightly more often in men before the age of 65.

Roach, who is only 42, is completely dependent on the care from others and is residing at home with his over 70-year-old mother. He gets around in a motorized scooter and is now purchasing special equipment to help him operate it with his sight because he is now unable to do so with his hand.

Roach is still able to communicate but at times it is hard for him. Although almost completely disabled, Roach’s brain will continue to function completely. DeBoo said, “Everything will eventually stop working except his brain.” To fill the gap with communication, Roach is currently seeking equipment to help him operate his laptop hands free.

A benefit in his honor will take place April 2 in Fairfield at the Community Hall from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. There will be a spaghetti feed and auction, followed by a dance and live music by Sodbusters.

All proceeds from the benefit will help Roach with his medical and disability expenses.

Auction items and merchants have donated from Fairfield, Choteau, Cut Bank, Shelby, Conrad and Valier.

Easter Seals, through the Conrad department, hires care providers to visit Roach in his home. If anyone is interested in becoming a care provider to Roach, please contact Easter Seals Home Care at 271-2073.