Evan Ice, son of Ted and Sue Ice of Newton, will be awarded the "Tom Watson Award of Courage" Friday at the Night of Hope Gala in Kansas City.
As a guy who only missed two days of work from 1989 to 2005, and who had run four full marathons, numerous half marathons and triathlons, Evan Ice was healthy and active. So in the summer of 2012, when other athletes who had traditionally been slower than he started to pass him, he chalked it up to getting older.
But in January 2013, after straining muscles that should have been strong, and ruling out other medical possibilities, Evan Ice was referred to The ALS Association Center of Excellence at the University of Kansas Medical Center. There, he and his wife, Jill, got the diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease (MND). As a Phi Delta Theta alum who had spent his college years raising funds for The ALS Association, Evanís first thought was, "Good, at least I donít have ALS." However, in fact, he did.
Evan told his daughters, Erin, Allix and Emily, his and Jillís parents and his law partners about his diagnosis. For those first few days, each time he told someone new they would "cry together" and then try to figure out how they could help.
The first thing Evan and his family decided they could do was walk. So they formed Team EvaNiceDay. Eighty of their friends, family and others in the Lawrence community joined in. Together they raised $37,580 for the Walk to Defeat ALS, making them the top fund raising team in the Kansas City Walk.
"People kept asking us what they could do to help, and this was something they could do," Evan said. "Iím trying to raise awareness in every way I can, and this was one way."
Today Evan continues his law practice with the help of technology, his wife and people at the office. Volunteers come by to help with yard work and household tasks, and bring dinner to the family.
"It wasnít easy to ask for help, that isnít me," Evan said. "But you get to the point where you say okay, I need help, I canít do this alone. And thatís when you really find out whoís all in with you."