By Caroline Wigmore
WAVERLY, MN - When Justin DesMarais was a teenager, he was an active member of the football team at Buffalo High School, but today, at 35 years old, DesMarais struggles just to walk.
He was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) when he was 22 years old from then on, life slowed down and everything had to change.
DesMarais had gone to Hutchinson Technology after high school to study welding, and after completing his program, he worked full-time as a welder at Landscape Structures in Delano.
“I first went to the doctor when I woke up with no feeling from the waist down,” DesMarais said. “When I walked, it was more like stumbling,” he added.
Today, DesMarais spends most of his time in his Waverly home, working on the computer for his family company, Lazy J’s, which sells tractors, trailers, Bobcat, and Bobcat attachments. His wife, Krista Becker DesMarais, works in patient registration at the Buffalo Clinic.
Justin also spends a lot of time in physical therapy, where he is re-learning how to walk.
In November, Justin’s doctor placed him on a new treatment regimen, which can be invasive and painful.
Justin’s doctor has warned him that patients respond differently to the treatments for MS and that it is unclear how his body will respond. The treatments usually take about four months before they show results, so Justin and his doctor are watching and waiting.
Justin’s hopes for the treatment are simple.
“I would be happy if I could just walk around again,” he said.
Recently, Justin has taken some bad falls getting in and out of the shower, which made it clear to him and Krista that they needed to remodel their bathroom and install a walk-in bathtub.
A benefit for Justin will take place Saturday, May 2 at the Rockford Town Hall, 3039 Dauge Ave. SE, Buffalo.
The benefit will include a pork chop dinner from 2 to 7 p.m., a prize raffle at 7:30 p.m., a silent auction, raffle donations, and live music beginning at 9 p.m. by the Mason Dixon’s Band, and the Moaning Lisas.
Proceeds from the benefit will go towards remodeling the DesMarais’ bathroom and other care expenses.
How to donate
To make a raffle donation for Justin DesMarais’ benefit, call Mary and Ron Becker at (763) 497-2420, or Karla Becker at (612) 636-3057.
Donations can also can also be made at the Wells Fargo Bank under the name Justin DesMarais Benefit.