THE TIES THAT BIND
I think it was pre-school when our son, Mark, started moving in a cluster. As the youngest of the three Hume boys, he thrived in developing his own world, peopled with guys his age who like to move fast, play games and speak in a language understood only by funny daredevils and dogs. That little-boyhood social life was noticeably different from his more introverted older brothers and he blossomed. Hanging with pals was a vital ingredient for a happy life —until he discovered girls anyway.
When he headed for my beloved alma mater, Willamette University, in 1980, it didn’t surprise us that he pledged a fraternity. Kappa Sigma. He was a natural born frat-rat who enjoyed his new cluster. Mark is an extrovert blessed with an optimistic personality and intelligence, so being in college and Kappa Sigma was a good proving ground as he headed toward adulthood. He kept in touch with some of his fraternity brothers through the years, as he worked for a Masters and Ph.D. and into his chosen profession.
He met the love of his life, Donna, as they both worked in a rehab hospital to confirm the licenses required in their careers: Donna as a Marriage and Family Counselor and Mark as a Clinical Psychologist. They are dedicated, loving parents of three children. Both have been hip-deep supporters and friends in their church, the children’s schools and an amazing neighborhood, which is a model for the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”
About 18 months ago, at age 51, Mark was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. He has maintained his upbeat spirit, taking part in several tests with trial medications, which alleviate some troubling symptoms. Something he hopes to continue as long as possible is his work as senior psychologist at Chino State Prison and professor at Argosy University. That will depend, however, on the physically limiting symptoms of ALS.
Facebook put him in touch with most of his Kappa Sig classmates and he shared the dismal news of his illness with them. Recently, he told them about the ALS Walk, which is slated in Irvine on Saturday, November 8, 10 AM. Mark is gathering a team of family and friends, most wearing kilts in honor of his heritage, a dedicated Scot. The hope is that his Walk team, sub-titled “Off-Kilter”, will collect a heap of money for the local ALS Association. It supports patients and their families in so many tangible, essential ways.
In an amazing act of loyalty and affection his fraternity brethren took action. One has access to private planes and 28 of Mark’s fraternity brothers will board them the day before the Walk and come from the Northwest to Orange County, California. Here’s a safe prediction: That night there will be a frat party in Irvine filled with a bunch of 50+ year-old Willamette alums, who are the best kind in my book. Mark—and his family and friends—are deeply moved by this amazing gift, generously offered by pals from so long ago. Indeed, there are special kinds of ties that bind—across the years and miles, ups and downs. Friendship. What a blessing.
Julie Fullager Hume
As a staff we are working very hard to make this day all that it can be for you, your family, and friends. We recognize we will come across some hurdles but most importantly hope your time at the walk is a time filled with joy. It is because of all of your hard work and dedication I am confident we will surpass our goal which will allow us to better support the 160+ families that we directly serve.
The ALS Association Orange County Chapter