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Zac Brown Band's John Driskell Hopkins fights ALS diagnosis: 'Crying sucks' - Joggingvideo.com
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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Zac Brown Band's John Driskell Hopkins fights ALS diagnosis: 'Crying sucks'

John Driskell Hopkins, or “Hop” to his friends, knows his ALS diagnosis is no laughing matter – but that’s not stopping him from maintaining a playful perspective on life. 

Hop shared his ALS diagnosis with fans in May 2022. In the year since, he continued touring as a founding member of the Zac Brown Band, recorded more music and started the Hop On a Cure nonprofit dedicated to not only funding research of the disease but also creating a community for people living with ALS. 

“I had one lady ask me … she was diagnosed right around the same time,” Hop remembered. “She said, ‘How come you’re not crying all day?’ I’m like, ‘Crying sucks.’ You know, I’ve done my share of crying, and I know I don’t want to.” 

He added, “And I’m full of sh–. I’m always making jokes. I’m not going to make light of this, but I am going to poke fun at it and at my expense.”

ZAC BROWN BAND ADDS FIRST FEMALE BAND MEMBER CAROLINE JONES: ‘SHE’S A BADA– MUSICIAN’

“I want to remember that I’m a songwriter and a musician, but it’s difficult to sit up here and carve away all day when there’s so much going on,” he said. “But, I’m accepting it. Because I’m doing pretty well, I still feel like one of the new kids on the block. I’m watching other people progress faster around me. I’ve already lost a new friend who was 36 years old … I don’t want to be [with this diagnosis]. 

“I don’t want to be in this business, but because we are, because we’re forced into it, I’m honored to at least provide some sort of distraction as an entertainer.”

There is currently no cure for the disease and progression of symptoms varies from each case.

Hop is very involved with his nonprofit, and is constantly researching new avenues and different approaches toward treating the disease.

WATCH: John Driskell Hopkins wants to explore more ALS initiatives

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“I’ve been blown away by the support, and I’m blown away that I’m still singing and playing,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect last year, and I’m very blessed that I’m sitting here talking to you and able to go on tour.”

At the Cincinnati Reds vs the Milwaukee Brewers game on Lou Gehrig’s Day, the Zac Brown Band played a post-game benefit concert. 

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“Coy Bowles and I are our brothers, and we always mess with each other. I told him, he was a couple of doors down at one of the venues. He’s a Zac Brown guitar player, and I texted him. I was like, ‘I’m coming over to kick your a– right now. I’ll be there in 30 minutes. Don’t leave!’ You know, like that kind of thing. When I saw him, I think he had to take a knee he was laughing so hard.”

WATCH: John Driskell Hopkins is grateful every day

“It’s things like, I took up banjo 10 years ago and was starting to get mobility and speed, and then it stopped and went backwards. I was going to be an old man on a porch, you know, tearing it up. I was trying to be Marc Pruett, and maybe we can figure this out and Marc can help me become him.”

Hop added, “I’m trying to keep a lighthearted attitude, but I certainly don’t want to play that it’s not extremely difficult, especially for people who are dealing with this on a more intensified level.”

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