MANSFIELD, Texas - A Mansfield husband and father in the prime of his life is fighting to stay alive.
The one-time successful business owner is relying on the help of others after being diagnosed with a crippling disease.
Mike Romero was an avid golfer and owned a construction company. One day, he felt his shoulder trembling and then his legs started to cramp. After numerous tests, Mike found out he has ALS. Just over a year later, he's out of work and his wife had to leave work to take care of him.
ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. As it progresses, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe.
“When they come in that room with the piece of paper basically to confirm it and basically say, ‘Go home and enjoy your family because here in America there's no cure, no treatment.’” Mike said. “So, it was tough. It was tough.”
The Romero family isn't giving up hope.
“The frustration is a big part of it,” his wife Stephanie said. “I try to not get him frustrated. I want him to be happy.”
With help from a student fundraiser at Mansfield High School, where Mike’s son is a senior, Mike is well on his way to raising the $35,000 he needs to take part in a stem cell procedure in Thailand. Mike says it could save his life.
“I'll do anything I can to try and stick around for my family,” Mike said. “I believe in God and I know there's a better a place. And if it's my time, it's my time. What I did say is I'm afraid to die this way.”
Mike and Stephanie leave for Bangkok on April 1. They're in the process of trying to sell their house in order to pay for his treatment. They have also set up a GoFundMe account.