Embrace everybody and every day, enjoy every moment and say what you need to say to those around you. That is the essence of #JustLiving. Stacy Brown and his family developed this philosophy following his ALS diagnosis. This year, we have the pleasure of honoring Stacy Brown as the 2021 Shoot Out ALS Hero.
Stacy was raised by amazing parents and grew up in a small town in northeastern Arkansas. He moved to New Orleans the day after he graduated from high school. After attending LSU and graduating from Centenary College he moved to Texas, and has lived in Houston since the late ’80s. There he met his future wife, Kellye.
Stacy and Kellye first met during a Sunday school class in Houston. He was the president of the class and she was there with a group of friends. After leaving the class, Kellye recalls telling her friends, “I’m going to marry that man one day.” And marry him she did.
Following five years of building a friendship, Stacy finally asked Kellye to be his girlfriend. They were engaged after three months of dating and married six months after that in 1995. A few years later, they had boy/girl twins, Emily and Scott. Today, Kellye and Stacy have been happily married for 25 years and still call Houston home.
The Beginning of an ALS Journey
Stacy started to experience slurred speech in 2020. He and Kellye thought he may have had a stroke. They decided to consult with a friend who was a neurologist at Houston Methodist to be sure. Through a process of elimination, Stacy received a formal diagnosis of bulbar onset ALS in October 2020. Bulbar onset ALS is when symptoms first affect the muscles of the face and throat.
As Stacy’s symptoms progressed, speaking became increasingly difficult, and he decided to retire in December 2020 after a successful career in sales and marketing. While working, Stacy used those skills to serve others. “I’ve always enjoyed doing philanthropic work. It was a great way to give back to the community,” Stacy shared. He is a former Chairman of the Rotary Smith Award and a member of the Lomdardi Award Committee and is currently a Vice Chairman of the Wine Committee of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo as well as serving on the World’s Championship Bar-B-Que Committee for over 25 years.
Joining the Fight Against ALS
“I was shocked to find out that there is no cure and that there are very few treatments,” Stacy shared. While searching for organizations that supported the fight against ALS, he came across the ALS Association of Texas. They were then able to get connected with resources, including one of our multidisciplinary clinics in Houston.
“We have been utterly blown away by the level of care afforded to, not only the ALS patients, but their caregivers as well,” Stacy noted about the ALS clinics. “Seeing everybody in one day is incredibly helpful. We must increase funding in order to provide local ALS clinics across the state.”
Shortly after getting connected with the resources at ALS Texas, Stacy looked for ways to impact the organization himself. “From my previous philanthropic work, I had skills that could be utilized for raising money and awareness.” After connecting with an ALS Texas board member, Stacy joined the ALS Texas Regional Leadership Council.
We must increase fundraising for additional research in hopes of curing ALS so others don’t have to go through this.
Foundation of Faith
Kellye noted that Stacy’s faith plays a key role in his desire to serve others. “Regardless of what we are experiencing, God teaches us that our focus is not inward, but outward. Faith has always been and continues to be, the driving force in our family. It will sustain us through our ALS journey.”
Knowing that his life is being cut short by this terrible disease, Stacy makes it a habit of expressing the important thoughts and feelings that he may or may not have said to his friends and family.
Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us. 1 John 4:19
In the short few months since Stacy’s diagnosis, Kellye said “So many others affected by an ALS diagnosis have come into our lives and I can only attribute that to God’s providential care.”
Before the ALS diagnosis, Stacy was blessed with many opportunities. He has traveled extensively, become a sommelier, played guitar in bands, wrote and published music, and got his sailing license. However, his biggest accomplishment is his twins, Emily and Scott, who are both college graduates and are currently working in the Houston area. They are his pride and joy. Today, he is not letting ALS keep him from enjoying the little things. “I’m taking this time to just live and enjoy what I’ve been blessed with, mainly my family and my friends.”
He and his family coined #JustLiving, a philosophy to guide them through the ALS journey and beyond. The essence of #JustLiving is to embrace everybody, experience every day, enjoy every moment, and say what you need to say. “We’re going to live every day as fully as we can until we can’t,” Kellye tearfully shared.
Encouragement for Those on The ALS Journey
The ALS journey can feel isolating, so it is important to stay connected with others. “Surround yourself with a group of people, family, friends and experts who can support you,” Kellye suggested for others on this path. The ALS Association of Texas provides a network of support from ALS clinics to support groups.
“Without the ALS Association, we wouldn’t have a pathway to direct dollars to research and clinical care, and that’s a big deal!” Stacy shared about ALS Texas. He is both hopeful for a cure and hopeful for new treatments to improve the quality of life.
You can support Texans with ALS like Stacy Brown by joining us for the Sixth Annual Shoot Out ALS Sporting Clay Shoot in Houston, Texas on March 23, 2021. Shooting enthusiasts will participate in an afternoon clay shoot followed by cocktails, dinner, and awards at the Greater Houston Sports Club.
Not a shooter? No problem! Dinner-only tickets are available for those who do not want to shoot, but still want to support the fight against ALS.