Zac Brown Band’s John Driskell Hopkins Says He’s Fighting ALS for His Daughters

by Clayton Edwards

Last week, we learned that Zac Brown Band bassist John Driskell Hopkins has ALS. In a YouTube video, Driskell and the rest of the band made the announcement. “Over the past several years,” Driskell explained, “I’ve noticed some balance issues and some stiffness in my hands. After careful analysis by some of the country’s top neurologists, I have been diagnosed with ALS.” However, the ZBB bassist explained that he wasn’t ready to hang up his axe just yet. “Because my symptoms have been slow-progressing from the start, we believe they will continue to be slow-progressing going forward. God willing, I plan to be rocking with these amazing people for many years to come.”

ALS, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a degenerative disease that causes progressive muscular paralysis. In its final stages, it causes complete paralysis and ends with respiratory failure. Currently, John Driskell Hopkins says that his ALS hasn’t stopped him from playing or singing. As a founding member of the Zac Brown Band, he’s doing all that he can to stay active in the band for as long as possible.

In a recent interview with People, John Driskell Hopkins revealed that he is fighting ALS for even more important reasons. He and his wife Jennifer have three daughters – 13-year-old Grace and 10-year-old twins Lily Faith and Margaret Hope. Driskell plans to do all he can to live life to the fullest while he still can. “I’m ready to fight this disease. I want to show my girls what a warrior their dad is,” Hopkins told the publication.

John Driskell Hopkins Fights ALS for His Family

John Driskell Hopkins received his ALS diagnosis just before Christmas in 2021. The diagnosis was devastating for the musician and his wife. But, they decided to wait until after Christmas to discuss his diagnosis with their children. About getting the horrible news, Hopkins said, “In my life, I’ve been scared, I’ve been angry, I’ve been stressed. But I don’t think I’ve ever truly felt anxiety until that day.”

John Driskell Hopkins is using every treatment he can to fight ALS. He takes traditional ALS medications alongside vitamin supplements and drinks herbal teas. His daily exercise regimen includes stretches and ab workouts. Additionally, Hopkins has adopted a gluten-free and dairy-free diet since receiving the diagnosis. “We say, ‘If it’s not going to hurt, let’s try it,’” he said of his treatment choices.

Keeping Spirits High

John Driskell Hopkins and his family are staying positive in the face of his ALS. “No one knows what the condition will be like going forward,” he said, “So we can’t sit around and cry about it.” Instead, Hopkins is keeping his sense of humor. “I’m singing as well as I’ve ever sung and I was never a good player,” he joked. “The band will back me up on that.”

He jokingly said that when he told his bandmates about his diagnosis on a Zoom call, Zac Brown asked, “Are you making all this up because you’re a sh*tty banjo player?”

Hopkins’ wife Jennifer told People how important that sense of humor has been in recent months. “When he’s having a moment, I have the strength to lift him and when I’m having a moment, he has the strength to make me laugh. We cling to that.”

Hop On a Cure Foundation

Last week, John Driskell Hopkins and his wife launched Hop On a Cure, a foundation to raise money to find a cure for ALS. About the foundation, Hopkins said, “Our vision is clear. We need to do everything we can to generate funds to cure ALS.” Jennifer added, “We want to prevent anybody else from getting told they have ALS and there’s nothing that can be done.”

According to the foundation’s website, “Hop on a Cure is committed to supporting research to prevent, reverse, and cure ALS while raising awareness, building a compassionate community, and unleashing the healing power of hope.”

If you’d like to give to Hop On a Cure, you can do so here.. Alternatively, you can text HOP to 345-345.