Pastor Bill Hassel

Adversity: Diagnosed with ALS in 2008

Advocacy: Founded the 5K Stroll, Roll ’n’ Run for ALS Research

“No one knows or controls what life throws at you; with God’s help, you can handle it and do something positive in spite of it.”

The first indication there was something wrong was in 2006, when the Rev. Bill Hassel dropped the Cross during Good Friday services at First English Lutheran Church in Victoria, Texas. Two years of medical tests followed before the man known by congregants as Pastor Bill was diagnosed with ALS. He left his role as full-time pastor at the church in Sept. 2008.

Though Pastor Bill no longer holds his former position at that church, he is now the pastor of a new start-up congregation, People of Hope. He is also very much involved with the ALS community (members of which he calls his PALS – People with ALS) and is dedicated to raising funds for ALS TDI (ALS Therapy Development Institute), the leading nonprofit biotech company researching treatment for ALS. Pastor Bill founded the 5K Stroll, Roll ’n’ Run benefit for runners, walkers, and people in wheelchairs, to raise money for ALS TDI. After 10 years the fundraiser has collected over $330,000. His efforts creating the inaugural event are included in “Breadth of Hope,” a documentary centered on three people faced with ALS and how faith and hope help them to confront the disease. In 2011, Pastor Bill also played a pivotal role in contacting TV stations in an effort to get them to air 1-minute ALS commercials during the World Series, to raise awareness and funds for ALS research. Pastor Bill has been involved in numerous research projects and is currently part of the ALSTDI-ARC, an international research program tracking the effects of having ALS.  After living with ALS for over 17 years, Pastor Bill feels blessed to continue advocating, despite his adversity, for those fighting the disease.

Advocacy Links

In the News