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.
LittleGiantFudge.com and Palmer Bus Service make this column possible.
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 HeadlinesRoseville California Crime Brief (8.31.14)Roseville, CA - Roseville California crime brief update report for August 31, 2014.
Acura ILX: Luxury Vehicle, Reasonable PriceFor car shoppers looking for an upscale luxury sedan that doesn't arrive with a luxurious price tag, Acura debuted the ILX a year ago and its back for 2014 virtually unchanged
People with Autism Especially VulnerablePerhaps like you, recently I read of an incident in Okeechobee, Florida, in which an 18-year-old man was recorded on video beating, choking, kicking, and holding a knife to the throat of a 16-year-old boy with autism.
54 Year Old Roseville Woman Killed with Own VehicleRoseville- 54-year-old Bernadette Ann Richardson was killed when her SUV rolled backwards as she was retrieving a bicycle from her 1997 Ford Explorer.
Photos: Napa Earthquake DamageWe recently had the opportunity to tour Napa following the magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The downtown area of Napa which contains many older buildings was hit especially hard.
California Senate Passes New Gun Violence BillCalifornia's state today passed the "Gun Violence Restraining Order (AB 1014)," legislation that would allow family members or law enforcement to petition a court
Laura's Law Implementation in Placer CountyPlacer County became the sixth county in California Tuesday to implement Laura's Law - a state statute that authorizes court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment of residents with severe
$22 Million Animal Services Center in Auburn Moves ForwardThe Placer County Board of Supervisors awarded a design-build contract on Tuesday that paves the way for construction of a long-planned Animal Services Center in North Auburn that
Autism in Girls Study Launched in CaliforniaAutism is far more common in boys than girls - affecting 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls - but little is known about biological differences between boys and girls with autism.
Sierra Shoot Out Water Polo Tournament in RocklinThe Sierra Shoot Out Water Polo tournament is back for another year at Sierra College. The junior college has hosted this high school tournament for over 20 years
What is Slowing the California Housing Recovery?Realtor, Julie Jalone of MagnumOne Realty in Roseville, writes about why the California and Sacramento housing markets are not expanding as fast as expected. Find out what Julie thinks is contributing to a slower real estate market.
Circus Vargas in Roseville this September Roseville,CA -- Get ready for the ultimate entertainment extravaganza for all ages as the circus comes to Roseville.