GRAND MEADOW, Minn. - A high school baseball coach and former RCTC football player is facing a new challenge. Dan Copley also owns The Diner in Grand Meadow and is well known for his generosity to the community. After a recent diagnosis, the tables have turned and the community is the one rooting for him.
“There’s a chance it’s going to be the rest of my life,” he said.
Copley is a loving husband, father and assistant coach for the GMLOK baseball team. In May, he began experiencing a host of confusing symptoms. He was diagnosed with a rare central nervous system disease known as neurosarcoidosis. There is no known cure for the inflammatory disease that manifests itself in annoying ways.
“Hearing loss, to dizziness, to the fuzzy head – his balance is off. It’s everything in your body - his hands, his feet. If someone’s poking him with something he doesn’t feel that,” said his wife, Sadie.
As difficult as those struggles are, Dan isn’t letting them slow him down. He can routinely be found behind the grill at his local business, The Diner.
“I get over there, make some of the specials and do some of the baking. (I’ve) just got to stay busy,” he said.
Even though he likes to stay busy his doctors have made it clear he needs to pace himself. Pacing himself means more family time.
“Before, we were running. Sports, sports, sports – that’s all we did all the time and we never took time to do family things as much as we should’ve,” Sadie said.
Dan has to be vigilant and make his health his top priority. Something as minor as the flu or the common cold could have double the impact on his compromised immune system.
His family is now hoping for a miracle.
“That’s the only thing we’d ask for. I just want for him to feel better,” Sadie said.
“It’s taken a tremendous effect on her watching me, she knows who I am,” Dan said. “The boys have been by my side. They have just been a very supportive group and I love my family and I hate that they see me like this.”
Enter the good people of Grand Meadow who have rallied around Dan. In a single week, his supporters contributed more than $12,000 to his GoFundMe page.
“I can’t get over the people that I haven’t talked to in years, I mean 20 years that are donating $200, $100, $50. It just blows me away. The kindness is just very humbling,” he said.
The community isn’t done helping yet. There will be a craft and bake sale at SGI Ag Services in Grand Meadow from 8 a.m.-noon on December 19.
Given there is still a lot that he and his team of doctors don’t understand about the disease at this point, Dan would love to hear from others who have had the disease and how they dealt with the symptoms. He also encourages anyone who might have symptoms that don’t feel right to take a leap of faith and schedule an appointment to get it checked out.