Living with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (commonly known as Lou Gehrig disease) is unimaginable and indescribable. It is not a kind disease. There is no treatment, no cure, no relief; it is an atrociously prolonged death sentence. More than half of ALS patients die within 2.5 years following the onset of symptoms. I don’t know how that feels, but my dad did. My dad, Clyde D. Hicks, passed away on June 27, 2013 from complications due to ALS.
Daddy lived with ALS for 8 years. Everyone who knew, loved, and respected my dad for what an outstanding man he was, watched as he lost capabilities one by one. Simple movements we normally take for granted such as; lifting our feet to walk, turning our head to talk to a friend, and clicking our mouse, become tedious obstacles. Imagine gasping for air with each breath you take or not having the strength necessary to clear your own throat. Having to witness the withering decline of someone you love is beyond words. The helplessness you feel as you reach out to others, asking for a cure for your husband, daughter, or in my case, my dad. With no known cure, time ticks as their muscles weaken causing movement to subside, until finally suffocating; they succumb to this horrible disease. I promised Daddy I would continue to fight for a cure to stop this dreaded disease. As for Dad’s fight, I was too late.
ALS affects the entire family; no one is spared. My mother was not only Dad’s sole caregiver but was his grace from God. She was the rock he needed to endure. She was his hands, his voice and his strength in hard times; her life was his life— by his side 24 hours every day until the end.
My dad did not want a funeral; he wanted a “Festival of Life”— a celebration. He told me certain desires for his celebration and it was a grand farewell. Daddy loved life; he didn’t want anyone to grieve. He wanted to be remembered for the way he was, the blessed life he lived, his continual witnessing for the Lord, his genuine smile, and that twinkle in his eye. My daddy loved everyone. He loved to talk to friends and customers about everything— no matter who you were or what you did; everyone had the same importance in his eyes. ALS did not define Clyde Hicks. He praised the Lord every day until he was called Home.
I tell my family’s story to bring ALS awareness to our community. Please help me in my continuing quest to find a cure for ALS. To help diagnosed ALS victims and their families in our community, Hicks Oil Co., Inc. is “Walking to Defeat ALS” in memory of Clyde D. Hicks on March 3, 2018. The ALS Association is the only national not for profit health organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS. Their mission is to find a cure for ALS while empowering the lives of those living with ALS through Care, Advocacy, Research, Education and Support.
Those unable to join us in our walk, please donate to the ALS Association Florida Chapter – Sarasota Walk, Hicks Oil Team. Every dollar collected adds hope an ALS cure will be discovered.