Gripped by ALS, Social Justice Activist Ady Barkan Inspires With Story of 'The Best Hug I've Ever Had'

How important is a hug? What’s the value of ‘precious beauty’ in a world full of atrocities and deceit?

“[It’s] the only way, I think, for all of us to persevere through the atrocities and the hate and the lies.” —progressive activist Ady Barkan

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Healthcare and social justice campaigner Ady Barkan, who rose to national prominence as as an outspoken critic of the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress even as he suffered from the debilitating disease known as ALS, answered that question late Friday night with an eloquent, heartbreaking, and very personal thread on Twitter that also served as a reminder to other progressives about the human side of the political battles waged in Washington, DC and far beyond.

The topic: the best hug ever from his young child.

He wrote:

The disease from which Barkan suffers, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), is an incurable and degenerative condition that effects the nervous system’s ability to control muscles. ALS makes moving arms, legs, and other extremities increasingly difficult (and later impossible), and ultimately attacks involuntary muscle systems that control breathing and the heart.

While Barkan operated in politics prior to his diagnosis, he entered the national spotlight fighting against the effort by Trump and congressional Republicans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in 2017. Subsequently he joined the fight against Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and also launched the ‘Be a Hero’ Fund, a group that organized to defeat Republicans nationwide during the 2018 midterm elections.

In response to his overnight thread, many let Barkan know how much the message meant to them and thanked the activist for his tireless and inspiring activism.

“I just awoke and this is the first thing I saw, as I lay in bed with my 2 yr old daughter between my wife and I. I hope it brings you even a little bit of comfort to know that your story and words are inspiring humans all over the world to be more loving and more human,” said one respondent. “Thank you.”

Said another: “You can’t fake love or courage. Kids see through you. Carl is a lucky kid as you don’t have to fake either.”