Joe Hordos' life has changed greatly over the past 16 months. Hordos had been working steady for Volker Stevin and was a long-term active member of his local volunteer fire department.
Then in September, 2017, he started experiencing numbness in his hands, legs, and back. Over time, his symptoms got progressively worse and doctors could not determine a definite diagnosis.
Hordos was hospitalized with inflammation of his spine, but after many MRIs and treatments, not solid diagnosis could be found.
His medical team found lesions on his spine and put him on a round of steroid, which was starting to help somewhat.
“Then, they put him on something else and his nerves were starting to rebuild, but it was like walking on glass for him,” said Jennifer Cooper, who along with Nicole Poisson, is spearheading a fundraiser in Irvine to help Hordos with medical and travel expenses.
Hordos has lived in Elkwater and Irvine his entire life and was a member of the local volunteer fire department for more than a decade. He worked for Volker Stevin since 2002.
Doctors have tried to pinpoint exactly what has been causing all this, but to no avail so far. Multiple Sclerosis (MS) has been considered as a cause, but the closest they have found is Neuromyelitis Optica, but even with that, it is not a definitive diagnosis. He has made numerous trips to Calgary for treatment, including to the MS clinic.
“There is no degeneration of the eyes, so it might not be Neuromyelitis Optica and there are no lesions on the brain to suggest MS. He only has lesions on his spine,” said Cooper.
As his condition has not improved, Hordos was forced to go on short-term disability from his job with Volker Stevin, a job he has held since 2002.
Then in December, 2018, Hordos took a fall down the stairs at his home, breaking his elbow in two places.
“He had surgery in Calgary and they put in pins and screws, but the trauma caused him to have another attack and now he can't walk on his own,” she said.
Currently, Hordos is confined primarily to a wheelchair.
March 5 would be the date for him to return to work, but Cooper said that is unlikely and he will have to go on long-term disability.
“They are trying to get him on a treatment that is supposed to regenerate his nerves, but that won't be until after his short-term disability runs out and he would have no coverage for this treatment,” said Cooper.
A steak dinner and silent auction fundraiser will be held at the Irvine Hotel on Feb. 22 to raise money to help with medical and travel expenses. The steak dinner will cost $20.49, with $10 from each dinner going to assist Hordos with ongoing expenses.
Donations are still being accepted for the silent auction and anybody with items to donate or looking for ticket info, can contact Cooper at 403-928-9566 or Nicole Poisson at 403-878-6357.
Colin Stabler will be the DJ for the evening and Darren Lutz will be the auctioneer for the bigger items.