Struttin’ Time readers really like the story of Letcher County native “Hoss” Collins, whom we are following as he battles multiple sclerosis. I got several responses from last week’s first edition.
During the spring of 2015, a friend of Hoss shared an article with him about a gentleman in Winchester who had just finished a new MS treatment — so new he was the first person in Kentucky to get it. He was one of only 50, nationwide.
The new medication is called Lemtrada; it is a five-day injection, each session last about six hours. Lemtrada, by design, flows through the bloodstream, killing the bad cells and allowing them to grow back healthy. It is followed by a three-day treatment a year later. After the last treatment, you should be MS free.
Hoss keeps getting better, and has had no flare up’s since his last treatment. Although his cane, and wheelchair have replaced his rifle and bow, hope is they will once again be part of his life soon.
In late February, 2016, almost to the day of this story, Hoss decided to embrace his improvements, and to accomplish a goal he had set for himself some time ago. He would venture on a survival trip to the woods, by himself.
Early in the morning of February 21, 2016, Hoss set out on an adventure that could change his life for the good forever. Hoss left without any water, food, or shelter, only the gear in his backpack. Hoss would go to Harrison County, to a farm owned by friend David Adams, of Whitesburg. Hoss and his family had hunted the property many times, and had the opportunity to build a small cabin, plant food plots, and hang tree strands. Hoss felt if anything went wrong, he could be found on property David, and his family knew. Hoss posted on Facebook about his plans, letting everyone know that he would be posting his journey and that they could keep a track of him.
Day one offered nice weather, relatively warm for that time of year, but this wasn’t a picnic and there was much work to be done. Hoss needed to build a shelter, gather firewood, and get ready for a cold night. Hoss knew his shelter would need to be windproof and waterproof. He brought a roll of painter’s plastic, and used paracord to secure small saplings to build a frame to hold the plastic in place, before he laid out more sticks. He added what seemed like a ton of leaves, branches for stability, and insulation.
While the new treatments had improved his health greatly, doing this by himself was very taxing, and drained him of his energy. After five hours of working a little and resting a lot, Hoss was finished and ready to gather the firewood he would to need to see him through his journey. End of day one, Hoss ate some black walnuts and slept. Stay tuned for another installment next week.