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 HeadlinesMemorial Day: A Time to ReflectMemorial Day is time to take a moment to reflect on the purpose of this holiday-to pay tribute to those who have served us in the military-especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
South Yuba River State Park: Summer CooldownSouth Yuba River State Park provides a scenic adventure and summer escape with pricing that's hard to beat.
Estate Planning Workshop in Granite Bay June 2Roseville, CA- Come out for an informative seminar with Bill Walker to learn how about smart estate planning on Thursday, June 2, 2016.
Roseville Ride: Miner's Ravine Trail Roseville, CA- A great place to go solo or bring the family, Miner's Ravine Trail offers a great escape for those looking to get away without the hassle or cost of a more time consuming adventure.
3 Arrested in West Roseville Vehicle TheftsRoseville, CA- Kevin Patrick McFarland, Maksim Mishchenko, and Stanislav M. Taran, were arrested on suspicion of stealing from numerous vehicles in Roseville.
Annual Marysville Stampede Memorial Day WeekendMarysville, CA- An annual celebration of California Western and rodeo heritage, in the heart of California's cowboy country, the 83rd Annual Marysville Stampede
Downtown Woodland: Unexpected TreasureWoodland, CA- On a recent Sunday afternoon, I grabbed my wife and headed off on a rather short drive to Woodland to catch an afternoon show at the Blue Note Brewing Company.
Roseville Flash Crime Report (5.23.16)Roseville police crime report digest update for May 23, 2016.
Local Team Wins Spirit CUP at SMUD Solar RegattaRocklin, CA- The Sierra College Solar Energy program Team competed last Saturday May 14th in the Northern California SMUD Solar Regatta
Roseville Area Organization Helps Guardian Scholars ProgramRoseville, CA- Sierra College Guardian Scholars Program thanks the ALPHA DELTA KAPPA Organization for their generous donation to our Former Foster Youth
Placer County Water Agency Master Plan UpdateAUBURN, Calif. - At its May 19 meeting, the Placer County Water Agency (PCWA) Board of Directors received an update on the PCWA County-wide Master Plan.
Subaru BRZ: Reasonably priced old-school sports carRoseville, CA - For driving enthusiasts who want to own a light, agile car that provides an elusive fun factor while also looking cool, the smartly designed Subaru BRZ deserves a good look.