Musician John Driskell Hopkins is sharing how his daughters inspire him to face his ALS diagnosis like "a warrior."
On May 20, Hopkins, a founding member and multi-instrumentalist in the Zac Brown Band, revealed that he is living with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a disease of the nervous system. ALS is also referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease, after the former MLB player who died from it in 1941.
Now, Hopkins is sharing with People how life is different with his wife Jennifer and their three children.
Hopkins told the outlet that during a 2019 tour, he struggled to play the bass as quickly and slurred his speech. Over the next two years, he visited doctor after doctor before he was given an ALS diagnosis. It was a tough adjustment for the couple.
"In that first month, I spent a lot of time in my closet and the shower crying because I didn’t want our daughters to see me that way," Jennifer Hopkins told People.
There’s no cure for ALS and no way to prevent it from happening. The cause is largely unknown, however 10% to 15% percent of cases are hereditary.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, people with ALS commonly live anywhere from three to five years after diagnosis, however, it’s possible to live for 10 years or longer.
Hopkins and and Jennifer, who live in Atlanta, Ga., are sensitive when talking to their children. "They’re young, so they don’t know the gravity of this disease yet, which is fine for us right now," Jennifer told People of 13-year-old Sarah Grace and 10-year-old twins Lily Faith and Margaret Hope.
However, their daughters have questions. Hopkins shared with People that he tripped on the sidewalk due to his balance issues in front of his daughters.
"Grace asked, 'Could you die?' I said, 'Yes.' Faith said, 'Could you be in a wheelchair?' I said, 'Yes.' Hope started crying."
Hopkins added, "They didn’t quite understand it, and they still don’t, really. But neither do we."
Hopkins is "ready to fight this disease," he told People. "I want to show my girls what a warrior their dad is."