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Team Hanses

Cheryl Smith

Team Hanses

Although we can trace our ALS gene back to Theresa Fossbender, the mother of Charles Edward Hanses and our great-grandmother, we begin our story with our grandfather.  Charles Hanses died in 1957 of complications resulting from ALS, leaving behind his wife, Agnes, and 8 grown children.  At the time of his death, fewer than half of his 30 grandchildren had been born yet.

It wasn't until 1987 that the Hanses family would have to face the reality that what we were dealing with was familial ALS.  That year, Chuck was diagnosed at the age of 59.  He passed away 9 months later, and, between 1988 and 2008, four more of Charles and Agnes' children would succumb to the disease:  Joyce (61), Jim (69), Ruth (76), and Lois (73).  The two youngest of the Hanses clan are Mark and Tom, the patriarchs of an extended family that has grown to include another generation raising children and grandchildren.

In early summer of 2012, Mark Hanses shared the news with the family that he had ALS.  With his diagnosis, he joined two of his nephews who were already battling the disease.  In 2010, Greg Hanses (Jim's son) had been diagnosed at the age of 46.  In the spring of 2011, Scott Hanses (Chuck's son) heard the same news 2 days before his 54th birthday.

Who is Team Hanses?  We are a family with deep roots in the Yakima Valley of Washington State.  Most of us still live in this agricultural area, but many made their way across the Cascade Mountains to make their homes in Seattle.  We work in the fruit industry, selling apples, cherries and pears for several of the large fruit warehouses here.  We grow hops and raise cattle, we are health care professionals, lawyers, teachers, pilots, nurses, and independent business owners. We golf and ski (both water and snow), love to travel, and we've all spent countless hours watching our kids play soccer, volleyball, football, baseball and basketball.  We live full and happy lives, but we live every day with the knowledge that there is a 50% chance any one of us will be the next Hanses fighting ALS.

Team Hanses has partnered with ALS TDI to find a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease.  It is our mission that very soon ALS will no longer cloud our family's future, but will only be a part of it's rich history.   

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