John Driskell Hopkins Is Ready to Fight ALS Like a ‘Warrior’ for His Daughters
What started off as just a few things that felt off has led to a devastating diagnosis for John Driskell Hopkins. The co-founding member of Zac Brown Band recently learned he has ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) — also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease — but he's not letting that stop him from living his life to the fullest.
"No one knows what the condition will be like going forward," he tells People. "So we can't sit around and cry about it."
Hopkins is doing everything necessary to fight the disease. Since his diagnosis, he's drinking herbal teas and has adopted a gluten and dairy-free diet. He's also says he's taking "38 pills" that include both supplements and ALS medications. Hopkins' daily routine also features stretching and ab workouts.
"We say, 'If it's not going to hurt, let's try it,'" Hopkins states before joking, "No matter how much naturopathic cleansing I do, I'm always going to be full of crap!"
"I'm ready to fight this disease," he adds. "I want to show my girls what a warrior their dad is."
Hopkins shares three daughters with his wife, Jennifer — Sarah Grace, 13, and twins Lily Faith and Margaret Hope, 10. They don't quite grasp the gravity of the disease yet, but they have plenty of questions.
"Grace asked, 'Could you die?' I said, 'Yes.' Faith said, 'Could you be in a wheelchair?' I said, 'Yes.' Hope started crying," Hopkins shares. "They didn't quite understand it, and they still don't, really. But neither do we."
The musician shared the news with his girls after tripping over some broken pavement while out playing volleyball. He saw it as an opportunity to tell them why their father's balance is off.
It's been five months since Hopkins' diagnosis, and not only has he made peace with it, but he's doing everything he can to help find a cure for the 5,000 people who are diagnosed each year. He and Jennifer have launched a new foundation called Hop on a Cure, which will raise funds to end ALS once and for all.
"Our vision is clear," he proclaims. "We need to do everything we can to generate funds to cure ALS."
"One of the beautiful things about my condition, if God-willing it remains the way it is for a couple of years, is I have the energy and the presence to make a big impact," Hopkins reveals. "I'm ready to go. I can still play, I can still sing, I can still make records — and I want to do all that. I'm trying to record everything I can in the event that one day I might not be able to."
Hopkins is currently working on his fourth Christmas record. He's also on the road with Zac Brown Band on the Out in the Middle Tour. The trek will continue through summer and fall before wrapping on Nov. 19 in Phoenix.