Businessman has Lou Gehrig's Disease
This last December, 60-year-old Dan Hacker of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, had a busy holiday season. He and his wife of 38 years, Lynn, own and manage one of the Midwest's largest wholesale/retail Christmas tree, garland, and wreath operations. Last year, they sold more than 30,000 Christmas wreaths in 40 states, and over 10,000 fresh Christmas trees.
In the years leading up to 2007, Dan had trouble falling down while walking, leg and foot pain, leg cramps, and at times was choking on his own saliva. He just thought he was getting older and perhaps needed to lose weight.
Lynn said, "Then in 2007, a doctor diagnosed Dan with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and that changed our whole outlook on business and life. Right away, we went on the Internet and started reading about ALS and became confused and scared. We finally were able to realize that no disease is the same for each person."
Though 80 percent of people with ALS die within five years, Dan has been fortunate, said Lynn. The progression of the disease in his body has been slower.
The ALS Therapy Development Institute says ALS is a "fatal neurodegenerative disease affecting 30,000 Americans and 450,000 people worldwide. Currently, there is no cure or effective treatment. On average, most people living with ALS only survive two to five years from diagnosis."
Coming up on six years now post-diagnosis, Dan still works in the family business. To get around, he uses a walker, an electric wheelchair or a scooter. In order for Dan to keep working, Dan and Lynn have traded many job duties. She now does most of the physical chores, and he mostly does office work.
Said Dan, "I now order most of the product we buy, do a lot of marketing, and handle customer email. But, the last couple years, it's also been my job to get up at two in the morning and stoke up the wood stoves in our four greenhouses. I do it using my scooter. I also water the greenhouse plants quite a bit. I do what I can."
What frustrates Dan often at work is having to explain how a particular task should be done, and then seeing the task wasn't performed the way he would like. Overall, Dan and Lynn have been leaning on their faith, and trying to be positive role models for their children and grandchildren.
Sponsored by Blue Valley Sod.
Daniel J. Vance is a licensed professional counselor and national certified counselor from Vernon Center, Minn. His weekly newspaper column Disabilities has been published in more than 260 newspapers.
Daniel J. Vance may be reached at www.danieljvance.com
Placer County News HeadlinesPlacer County Hoteliers: Taxman Cometh Airbnb, Vacation Rentals By Owner, inns or hotels. If you provide lodging in Placer County, you're required to collect Transient Occupancy Tax
Lake Tahoe Bound? Be prepared and patientTAHOE CITY, Calif. -- As Northern California prepares for the second and third storms of a week-long string of weather systems, Placer County is reminding residents and visitors
New California Laws 2017 (Part 15)Roseville, CA - New California laws for 2017. Part 15 includes criminal gangs, property taxes, real estate licenses, terrorist activity, child abuse, voting: felons, human trafficking
Study: Lung Cancer Patients Not Receiving TreatmentA national study by researchers at UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center has found that a significant number of lung cancer patients are not receiving treatment.
$21 Million for Regional Small BusinessesThe Capital Region Small Business Development Center (SBDC) has surpassed significant milestones in helping regional businesses
Rocklin Preschoolers Donate to Children in NeedROCKLIN, CA, - Students at Merryhill Preschool in Rocklin collected 69 pairs of pajamas to benefit local children in need for the holidays.
Bust Water Use Myths in Water Spots Video ContestLocal area middle and high school students can win cash prizes and the opportunity to view their video on the Raley Field Jumbotron
Placer SPCA seeks 2017 Hero Awards NominationsRoseville, CA - Placer SPCA is seeking nominations for the 2017 Hero Awards, to be presented at the 16th annual Funny Bones Comedy & Awards Night
Beatles vs. Stones Tribute at Harlows this MarchThe debate between the Beatles and the Rolling Stones has been going on ever since they first crossed paths on the charts 53 years ago
Man Still Recovering from TBITwo years back, I featured Daniel Mignerey who somehow survived life-threatening injuries on February 6, 2015
Rocklin Library hosts Lend A Heart Therapy DogsRocklin, CA- The Doggone Good Reading Group meets the second Tuesday of every month from 3:30 to 4:30 at the Rocklin Library
Placer Vineyards granted Regional General PermitJust west of Roseville, Placer Vineyards was granted its Regional General Permit