Denis Hart and His Story

I am not afraid of ALS. As I have shared with my family, I look at my condition as a challenge. I have never been afraid of challenges and certainly not of this one.
— Denis Hart
Denis and Suzanne Hart with Annie Freeman and Emma Binder, two of the Jim Schoemehl Chairpersons.

Denis and Suzanne Hart with Annie Freeman and Emma Binder, two of the Jim Schoemehl Chairpersons.

In July 2018, after a long time of wondering and inquiry, Denis was diagnosed with ALS. It was a long process to get his diagnosis. His daughter-in-law, a physical trainer, was the first to think to send him to a neurologist where he would finally be given answers. The doctors believed that he would only have two to three  months to live. It's been nearly seven months since his diagnosis.

Denis Hart is 79, and lives in Kirkwood with his wife of 54 years, Suzanne. He is the loving father of three, an uncle and a grandpa. Denis has Irish heritage and is very proud of it. He speaks Irish, and he even taught us a little bit! He is the chairperson of the Kirkwood Human Rights Commission, and will term out after 6 years this May. Running has been huge part of Denis’s life: he ran marathons in Chicago until he was 65, but he had to stop when he began to feel unsteady due to ALS. Writing is also a huge part of his life. He loves to write short stories and enjoys the writing class he is apart of. Poetry is also a joy for him to write, and his poems are often centered around forgiveness and acceptance. Denis is thankful every day that he is still able to write. It’s one of the things that keeps him going and optimistic.

Denis looks at ALS as a challenge, and although times are hard, Denis believes that there is “no place for fear”. He and Suzanne feel so blessed that ALS has not been visited on any of their children, nieces and nephews, or grandchildren. Denis remains the witty, caring, and resilient man he always has been.  Denis believes that “one who never fears is free”, and he is still free.

The Hart family is really excited for the Jim Schoemehl Run. They are so thankful to everyone who is dedicated to helping ease the pain and impact of this disease. They are also very thankful to the ALS Association for their help and provisions.

Denis (in the red hat), Suzanne (orange jacket) and some of their family.

Denis (in the red hat), Suzanne (orange jacket) and some of their family.