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Calves To Cure helps Worden boy battle rare disease

Posted at 10:53 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-29 13:32:44-04

9-27-22 update:
Paul Heaton says the 2022 Calves To Cure DMD All-Class Cattle Sale raised $19,438.21.
The money raised benefits Cure Duchenne for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research.


The Billings Livestock Commission hosted the 4th annual Calves To Cure on Thursday, to help a Worden boy with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and his family, and also to raise awareness and money to fund research.

Eight-year-old Grant Heaton has worked through the challenges of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy since he was three years old.

"Duchenne is a neurological muscle disease and its genetic," said Paul Heaton, Grant's dad. "Muscles break down and turn into scar tissue and boys with it, have trouble walking. And then they're in a wheelchair around age 12. And there's no cure or real treatment for it."

Heaton, his wife Laura, and his 10-year-old daughter Elyse all help Grant stay strong.

"Grant knows what he has," Heaton said. "He knows he has Duchenne. He doesn't know everything about it but he understands quite a bit about it."

The Heatons started the cattle sale called Calves To Cure to benefit Cure Duchenne, a national nonprofit that raises money for Duchenne research.

"The ag community has salt of the earth people that have a big heart," said Ty Thompson, cattle sales manager for the Billings Livestock Commission. "A lot of them know Paul and Paul's family and know how much time and effort he has put into this."

Calves to Cure has raised more than $60,000 over the last three years.

And Grant even donated an animal to the fundraiser this year.

"I sold one of my steers named Doughnut," Grant said. "When he was little, he had a little round spot on his on his head like a doughnut."

Grant helps on the family ranch and is getting ready for next year's MontanaFair, not letting his Muscular Dystrophy get in the way.

"This year, for 4-H, I'm going to get a rabbit," Grant said.

"We sure try to just go about every day and keep everything as normal as possible and do everything we can," said Paul. "If it sounds kind of hard for Grant, we figure out a way to do it."

Grant and his mother Laura took off for a flight to Salt Lake City for treatment after the sale.

It's a family doing what's needed to help a son and brother battle a rare disease.