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Montana Ag Network: Livestock sale proceeds to fund disease research

Posted at 1:10 PM, Sep 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-07 15:11:02-04

Six-year-old Grant Heaton of Worden was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) three years ago.

His father Paul Heaton explained there is not a cure for the disease.

“Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease that causes progressive muscle wasting,” Heaton explained. “It affects 15,000 boys in the US and 300,000 worldwide. So, it's really rare. Our son Grant, instead of his muscles breaking down and building them up stronger, his breakdown and turn into scar tissue.”

Usually, boys with DMD are in a wheelchair around age 12. They generally do not make it out of their mid-twenties.

To find a cure, the Heaton family has teamed up with Billings Livestock Commission, "we decided to have a cattle sale to raise money for research to try to fight this bugger of a disease,” said Paul Heaton.

The Calves to Cure DMD fundraiser encourages ranchers to consign a portion of their livestock sale on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020, at 1 p.m. The proceeds raised during the Billings Livestock Commission sale will help fund research to find a cure.

“Somebody can bring in an animal, it doesn't have to be a calf, it can be a yearling, a bull, an old cow,” said Heaton. “Our target is any animal that's not going to go on the semi this fall that you are going to have to bring to the sale anyways. Bring it to our sale and the seller gets to pick how much of their checked donate.”

The tax-deductible donation goes directly to a group called Cure Duchenne. The organization funds groundbreaking research, early diagnosis, and treatment access for boys with DMD.

“Some people donate their entire check and that blows me away every time it happens,” said Heaton. “Others donate a set dollar amount like a hundred dollars out of their checks. It’s up to the seller. Whatever they can do and want to do. This isn't the type of sale where one calf sells four times. You bring in your animal and it sells for regular market price and then whatever you want to donate.”

If you cannot donate livestock, you can bid during the sale on a whole beef donated by Sian Land and Livestock that will be auctioned off. Processing of the beef is donated by Charlie Hollenbeck at Cowboy Meat Co. in Forsyth.

All animal donations (regardless of the amount donated) will go into a drawing for a Ruger 6.5 Creedmoor rifle donated by 406 Precision of Twin Bridges.

Contact Information for Sale Details:

  • Paul and Laura Heaton P.O. Box 131 Worden, MT 59088 (406) 660-1208
  • Billings Livestock Commission P.O. Box 31533 2443 N. Frontage Road Billings, MT 59101 (406) 245-4151
  • CureDuchenne, Christy Anderson (949) 872-2552