Doug Hough is a farmer and a rancher. He spent his life doing cowboy day work, so being able to ride a horse was necessary. Around 2011, he noticed his arms were gradually getting weaker, and he couldn’t explain why. When his muscles started twitching for no apparent reason, he knew something must be wrong.
His local doctor suspected Doug might be experiencing the early stages of ALS and sent him to the ALS clinic at Nebraska Medicine for a second opinion. In February 2012, the diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was confirmed.
As his arms weakened, saddling and mounting his horse became more difficult. “I build a ramp so I could saddle my horse and keep riding. My arms went first, I kept my good old horse so I could control her with just my legs. Then when I couldn’t saddle her anymore, someone else would saddle her, and I kept riding. With the ramp and some help, I was able to keep riding for almost a year and a half after my diagnosis,” Doug recalls.
Although it was a three-plus hour drive, Doug attended The ALS Association Certified Treatment Center of Excellence quarterly for two years. It was “very helpful” for him to have the help managing the disease and getting help obtaining the equipment he would need as he progressively got weaker.
Doug, his family and friends attend the Walk to Defeat ALS in Kearney each year. 2017 will mark their fifth straight walk. Doug says, “We get together to walk, and everyone brings food. We have a picnic and spend the day together every year.” His team, Doug’s Hunters has nearly 50 participants every year and has raised thousands of dollars for The Mid-America Chapter.