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 him 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 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 alumnus who had spent his college years raising funds for The ALS Association, Evan’s first thought was “Good, at least I don’t have ALS.”
Evan told his daughters, Erin, Allix and Emily, his and Jill’s 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 fundraising 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. “I’m trying to raise awareness in every way I can, and this was one way.”
Today Evan continues to work 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 wasn’t easy to ask for help, that isn’t me,” Evan said. “But you get to the point where you say okay, I need help, I can’t do this alone. And that’s when you really find out who’s all in with you.”
On Friday, February 28, Brother Ice will receive the Tom Watson Award for Courage from The ALS Association Keith Worthington Chapter.