The Richard Hackel Award
Awarded to the Harpoon 5-Miler Runner who goes above and beyond, raising the most funds for The Angel Fund.
2016: Patrick Daly - $5,425
2015: Patrick Daly- $4,007
2014: Lindsey Miller- $15,760
2013: Erica Southerland- $7,611!
2012: Kim Howard- $10,331!
About the Award
While fundraising is not required to run in the Harpoon 5-Miler there are plenty of runners who take the extra step to raise important funds for ALS Research. We have named this award to honor Richard Hackel who has been living with ALS for over 11 years. He is a good friend of Rich Kennedy of Angel Fund and works out at the Boston Athletic Club where Harpoon CEO Dan Kenary got to know him as well. He’s a great guy and an inspiration to us all. He recently sent us a bio about his diagnosis and his life before, and now with, ALS. We look forward to having Richard with us on race day to present his award!
Richard’s Story in his own words
I was born in Boston, MA on June 19, 1941. Coincidentally I share this birthday with Guy Lombardo, Salmon Rushdie, Moe Howard (one of the “Three Stooges”) and Lou Gehrig. And coincidentally I share with Lou Gehrig a disabling neurological disease that robs my muscles of electricity.
In August 2001 I was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a neurological disease commonly referred as “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” The neurologist told me that in all likelihood I had five years to live. Well, it has been more than five years and I am still able to talk, walk with the aid of a rolling walker, and work out at the gym. More likely I have primary lateral sclerosis (PLS) rather than ALS. When a patient has ALS both the upper or primary motor neuron and the lower motor neuron are attacked by the disease and electricity from the brain is not able to be transmitted to the muscle thereby causing the muscle to atrophy or “freeze up.” With PLS only the primary motor neuron becomes dysfunctional. Fortunately for me the disease has been slow to rob my body of the ability to function and fortunately for me my wife Nancy has helped immeasurably to make my life easier.
I am a 1965 graduate of Middlebury College and a 1968 graduate of Boston University School of Law. I practiced law in Boston and I specialized in representing debtors in consumer bankruptcy cases. I was active in a number of professional organizations including the Bankruptcy Section at the Boston Bar Association and the American Bankruptcy Institute.
In 2004 the Boston Bar Association Bankruptcy Section presented me with its Lifetime Achievement Award and in the spring of 2005 when I retired the consumer bar, the Bankruptcy Court, and its staff held a party in my honor and “appointed” me as the “Honorable Fire Chief” of the Massachusetts Bankruptcy Court.
In the late seventies I joined the Boston Athletic Club (BAC). In June 2001, I noticed my right foot dragging when I ran down a ball playing racquetball or when I tried to jog to Castle Island. I went to my family practitioner who after examining me sent me to the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) in Boston. After numerous tests the neurologists gave us the diagnosis. I have been a patient at BIDMC since then.
Following diagnosis and supplemental to my treatment at BIDMC I have received physical therapy. From 2001 until 2005 my physical therapist was Richard “Ratt” Kennedy, who additionally is the president of the Angel Fund. With Ratt’s encouragement, I started an exercise program of walking on the treadmill and lifting weights on Nautilus equipment at the BAC. Although I can walk only with the aid of a rolling walker this exercise enables me to stretch my muscles and, most importantly, it helps me to feel better. I have convinced the neurologists that for me vigorous exercise works. Since there is no known cause and no known cure no one knows if exercise retards the disease, but, in my mind, I believe that it does. And so as long as I can I will vigorously exercise at least 3 to 5 days a week.
I have two children, Michael and Melissa. My children are now married and parents of their own.
This disease has been slow to disable my body. And like Lou Gehrig I think of myself as the luckiest man alive. Nancy and I will be married 48 years on June 13, 2012, she takes wonderful care of me, she is healthy, my children are successful and healthy, and they live nearby so that we can enjoy and spoil our four grandchildren.