California woman’s last wish: to see Kentucky horse country

Debra Luis

I absolutely agree with Debra Luis. Driving through Kentucky’s lush green rolling hills, watching the horses run along the white fence line is one of my fondest memories. I have seen horses run elsewhere. In the North-East there are more horse farms than a Texan like myself knew. They are indeed pretty, dotting the areas between deep pockets of trees. Of course, Texas has vast ranches that seem to go on for miles. The horses run along the fence line here too. Yet, nothing quite compares to Kentucky. I do hope she gets the chance to go. I would have loved to linger, but my trip back to Texas kept me from that pleasure. ~ HfH (Denise)

From: Lexington-Herald Leader
By: Cheryl Truman

Debra Luis has a wish to see Kentucky horse country before she dies.

Debra Luis

Debra Luis, second from left, with her children: Michael, Allison Luis Sutton and Megan Luis.

Luis, 60 and a Californian, has worked in animal control most of her professional career and has been a horse lover all her life. She is particularly fond of draft horses.

Luis was recently diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, otherwise known as ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. She is already feeling the severe effects of the neurodegenerative disease.

Her speech is slowing. She uses a scooter and a power chair to conserve strength.

ALS affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, causing the degeneration and death of the motor neurons that communicate with muscles throughout the body. The patient loses the ability to initiate and control muscle movement and might, in later stages of the disease, become paralyzed.

Luis’ husband is a dairy farmer. She has three children, ages 31, 29 and 27.

She worked in animal control for San Diego and Southern counties in California and the city of La Mesa. She most recently worked as a supervisor with animal services in Yuma County, Ariz.

Her ALS diagnosis began with a simple fall. She had been healthy all her life and didn’t even have a regular doctor, she said.

“As we age, our body changes,” Luis said in a phone interview. “I took a bad fall, and I thought that the fall was the cause for all this. … You’re getting old, you’re getting fat, you’re going to have sleep apnea.”

Luis told herself she needed to get back in shape, but being in shape wasn’t the problem.

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
1 Comment
  • Maggie Frazier

    I hope this gal is able to go to Kentucky – this horrible disease robs people of their very existence. I did see that there was a new drug – GM604. There was a petition on Change.com asking the FDA to consider some kind of accelerated approval.
    Maybe there is a possibility of a drug to treat this disease. Wish this could happen in time for Debra.

    April 15, 2015