Sultan teen battling disease gets VIP tour of Cabela’s

TULALIP — Christopher Butler knew his grandmother was taking him to Cabela’s on Friday, but he had no idea that 20 employees would cheer him when he entered the store.

Christopher, 15, of Sultan, has juvenile Huntington’s disease, a terminal condition that affects a person’s ability to think, talk and move.

He had been talking about wanting to go elk hunting, which his grandmother and guardian, Karen Falk, mentioned to a few people at her church.

One thing led to another and soon, the Tulalip Cabela’s and other organizations had it all planned out, including a tour of the store with quick tutorials from staff members on pitching a tent, casting a fishing line, tying a fly, bow hunting, calling elk and firearm basics.

A hunt is planned for this fall in Oregon.

Christopher was asked how he felt when he walked through the door to cheers and high-fives from the staff.

“Excited,” he said.

Bob Simpson, who belongs to Falk’s church, also is a member of the Seattle branch of Safari Club International, a hunting organization. Simpson approached Cabela’s and set up the store tour. Arrangements were made with Eden Ridge Outfitters of Myrtle Point, Ore., to take Christopher on the trip.

Safari Club International is footing the entire bill for the trip, estimated at about $2,000, group member Wade Winder said.

In-kind contributions include donations of clothing and equipment from Cabela’s and the services of the taxidermist who mounts the animals at the Cabela’s store in Lacey. Altogether the trip will be worth about $4,000, Winder said.

Christopher will be closely supervised on the outing, but when the group encounters an elk, he’ll be the one to bring it down.

“He’s going to do the trigger pulling,” Simpson said.

Falk expressed joy and gratitude for all that is being done for her grandson.

“This is amazing,” she said during Friday’s tour.

Huntington’s disease causes degeneration of nerve cells in the brain, affecting a person’s functional abilities and usually results in movement, cognitive and psychiatric disorders, according to the Mayo Clinic website.

Christopher’s brother, Lucas, died from the disease earlier this year, Falk said. He was 21.

The inherited condition most often strikes adults in their 40s or 50s, according to the Mayo Clinic, but also can strike children.

When it does, the disease progresses faster. It’s usually fatal within 15 years of the onset of symptoms, according to Falk — or, in Lucas’ case, five.

Christopher’s symptoms began appearing about two years ago, Falk said.

“We’re still praying for a cure,” she said.

Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439; sheets@heraldnet.com.

Learn more

For more information on Huntington’s Disease go to tinyurl.com/HuntingtonsHDYO or tinyurl.com/HuntingtonsMayo.

More in Local News

Designed for special emergencies, texting 911 widely misused

The majority of texts dispatchers receive are better handled by calling, a SNOPAC official says.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Arlington woman dies 4 days after Marysville crash

She was on the northbound onramp from Fourth Street to I-5 when her pickup hit a tree and fence.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Everett’s lawsuit against maker of OxyContin can proceed

Purdue Pharma says it’s not liable for the impacts of opioid addiction and wanted the case tossed.

Most Read