Huntsville Managing Partner Brian Hinson has a very personal reason for being involved with the ALS Alabama Chapter – his brother-in-law, Arvid Wakefield. Arvid was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2010 and Brian watched him go from a strong and athletic man to a man who spent most of his time in a wheelchair dependent upon on others for many of his daily needs. According to Brian, “As I watched him struggle daily, it became part of my life’s mission to not only help raise awareness, but more importantly, to raise funds to find a cure for this horrendous disease.”
Every 90 minutes, someone in the
United States is diagnosed with ALS.
This translates into more than 30,000 people living with ALS at any given time. Unfortunately, time is not on their side. The average duration of life after diagnosis is only 2-5 years – and every 90 minutes another patient dies from ALS. The dollars raised help to strengthen the community by funding much-needed programs and services for patients and families. Brian adds, “As a business owner, it is important to me that the ALS Association is extremely cost-effective with approximately 80% of funds directed to their mission. This statistic is both impressive and reassuring.”
Brain’s involvement began by helping his sister, Dawn Wakefield, rally friends, family, and community to participate in the annual Walk to DeFeat ALS. Brian’s team, Arvid’s Loyal Soldiers, consistently has the most participation of any team in the Huntsville area and raises the most money. In 2013 and 2014, Brian served as the Corporate Recruitment Chairman for the Huntsville chapter. In 2015, Brian and his wife, Jane, established the “Annihilate ALS” fund dedicated to finding a cure for ALS through genetic testing. “Our family witnessed the horrendous disease ALS take Arvid’s life,” Brian said in a statement. “During this time, we painfully realized that 75 years had passed since Lou Gehrig put a visible face and name to a disease that has no treatment or cure and an average life expectancy of five years or less after diagnosis.”‘
Brian’s brother-in-law, Arvid, eventually had a feeding tube surgically inserted to increase his daily caloric intake to help slow down his weight and muscle mass loss. His voice was significantly weakened and machines were needed to help with respiratory complications.
In April of 2014, Arvid lost his battle with ALS.