Association helps Lou Gehrig's disease patient

Thursday, August 28th 2008, 7:16 pm
By: News 9

By Charles Bassett, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY - A metro man is learning to live with a debilitating disease with some help from the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Don Strahorn was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis last year. Strahorn noticed that a limp in his right leg wasn't getting any better. ALS is a neuromuscular disease, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

"It took about three months to diagnose me," he said. "I started having muscle cramps. I think the final thing that set it off, I was having twitching in my muscles. It was just like popcorn it was all over."

The only hint of the disease is a brace Don now wears on his right leg.

"I do try to play golf, if I can," he said. "We try to stay active and maintain our lifestyle as we did before as much as possible."

Eventually those who suffer from ALS lose control of their muscles and are left paralyzed, Strahorn's wife, Linda, said.

"I've been a caregiver to my children, but this will be to my husband eventually and that's hard," she said.

The family said they found help from the Muscular Dystrophy Association's ALS clinic in Oklahoma City. They've provide counseling, support groups, and financial support.

"Whatever our insurance doesn't pay, MDA picks up the rest," he said.

The proceeds from firefighters annual street corner MDA fundraisers benefit the program, Strahorn's daughter, Jennifer Perry, said.

"There are so many people out here that need the money that don't have money to buy the things they need to get through this disease or any of the diseases," Perry said.