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Benefit for Roxanne Byers Feb. 8 at Gas-Lite

The Dave and Roxanne Byers family. From left to right are: Tessa, Dave, Katie and Roxanne. A benefit is being planned for Roxanne, who was diagnosed with vasculitis last year, at the Gas-Lite Bar, Saturday, Feb. 8. (Submitted photo)

Years ago, Roxanne Byers had a cough that wouldn’t go away.

And despite multiple medical visits with doctors refusing to believe her, nothing was found until late in 2012, when a chest X-ray showed something in her lungs.

Doctors at The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., determined it to be vasculitis, an auto immune disease that attacks her lungs, which has required her to be on oxygen 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As a result, she had to give up her job at United Gear in Hudson.

“I couldn’t walk from one end of the building to the other without losing my breath,” she explained.

To cope with the loss of income, friends and family have been holding fundraisers/benefits since, such as meat raffles and tractor rides leading up to the big one, Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Gas-Lite Bar, on Hwy. 10 between Ellsworth and Prescott. The event begins at 1 p.m.

Roxanne is an Ellsworth native who is married to Dave Byers. The couple are the parents of two children--Katie, age 18, and Tessa, 16.

Due to the vasculitis or “Wegener’s Disease” (its other name), Byers has been forced to alter her life.

“It’s not bad,” she said about her new life at home. “I like to read and play on the computers.”

However, she admits errands such as going to the grocery store and getting milk are no longer.

“I need to plan the number of (oxygen) tanks I’ll have to use for the benefit,” she said.

Mayo doctors have told her a new lung would eliminate the need for oxygen 24-7. However, doctors at UW-Madison are hesitant to put her on the transplant list for a new lung because of the vasculitis.

Vasculitis is not the only diagnosis Byers has to deal with. She also has pulmonary fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs. When they become scarred, the tissue becomes thicker and a person’s ability to transfer oxygen to the blood stream is hampered.

Events planned for Feb. 8 include a silent auction, food, raffles and more. Raffle tickets are available at the Gas-Lite and the Valley Bar. Donations are also being accepted at Associated Bank. All proceeds go to past and future hospital bills, on-going medical bills and living expenses.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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