The Deganzo brothers, Robert, Franco, Bobby and Francis, have worked as farmers for several years plowing fields and planting crops in Pilar town to help support their family including their aging parents.
And on top of the tiring physical work, the brothers are all suffering from an ailment which causes their muscles to weaken and waste away.
This is because the Deganzos were diagnosed with a rare motor neuron disease (MND) called progressive muscular atrophy (PMA), an illness which attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.
Although the UK-based MND Association has noted that the disease typically affects those aged 50 and above, Robert, 33, started showing symptoms of the disease 11 years ago when he was just 22.
His brothers who also have the illness are still in their 20s.
They are often fatigued and even have difficulty in walking as their muscles continued to weaken, said Robert.
As the need for medical attention became more apparent, the Deganzos decided to seek financial assistance through station DYRD.
And in the brothers’ call for help, several Boholanos have again shown their generosity.
On Tuesday morning, station DYRD’s Inyong Alagad program helped raise P90,000 to fund a follow-up checkup in Cebu for the ailing brothers through donations made by radio listeners.
Based on pledges made through telephone calls to the station, tricycle drivers have also offered several pesos to help fund the brothers’ checkup.
Even viewers on DYRD’s live Facebook feed have offered their prayers and well wishes to the Deganzos.
The brothers’ case has been referred to Dr. Japeth Agunas of the Chong Hua Hospital Mandaue & Cancer Center in Mandaue City.
The checkup would determine the next steps in the brothers’ path to recovery.
According to the MNDA, there is no single test to diagnose PMA or any other form of MND.
“Neurologist will first rule out any other conditions that may be causing symptoms, such as multiple sclerosis, spinal damage or tumours in the brain or spine,” said the MNDA. “It can take time to be sure that you have PMA, and most people will have had symptoms.”
Symptoms of PMA include weakness and wasting of muscles in the legs, arms, hands and body, fatigue, muscle cramps and pain, muscle twitching and rippling beneath the skin or fasciculations, clumsiness, breathing difficulties and weight loss, added the MNDA. (Rey Tutas)