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

Lynnwood robbery leads to lockdown at Edmonds schools

Edmonds police said it was just a precaution as they search around Edmonds-Woodway High School.

1 person shot in Everett thrift store parking lot

Multiple people called 911 after overhearing a loud argument and then multiple gunshots.

Marysville 7-Eleven hit by armed robbers

Officers set up a perimeter and brought in a police dog, but the man couldn’t be found.

2 women struck, injured while crossing busy roads

The first happened Wednesday night in Everett. The second was Thursday morning in Edmonds.

One dead in crash south of Granite Falls

Two cars collided near the intersection of N. Lake Roesiger Road and Hidden Valley Road.

Old Silvana Creamery recalling whole raw milk

The milk was sold at the farm store, directly to customers and at local stores.

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)
If drivers paid even more, I-405 toll lanes might speed up

A report recommends lifting the maximum toll of $10 and varying it by segment traveled.

Departing mayor’s locally drawn portrait joins city’s pantheon

Artist Elizabeth Person’s portrait of Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson will hang with others at City Hall.

Investigation recommends girl shot by officers face charges

The teen is accused of assaulting her boyfriend and the responding police officers.

Most Read