Christopher Clark: Creating a Happy Life, In Spite of Incurable Disease

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

“I do think you have to choose happiness, because it’s YOUR life.  You are in control of your own personal happiness.  I could lay in bed sick and angry, or I could choose to laugh . . . and make a happy life.  I don’t find that it is any more difficult than it was before.  My problems have just changed.”

Christopher Clark told me a story about another friend of his that was also diagnosed with ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's disease.  When this friend's doctor told him of his diagnosis, in almost the same breath the doctor made a plea that he would not take his own life.

For many, receiving word that they have this untreatable, incurable, gradually debilitating disease is a death-sentence.  For Clark, there was grieving to be sure; but there was also a determination to rise above the temptation to languish in his pain and despair, and instead to live the rest of his now-shortened life with a good amount of grace, and even more of humor.

Chris's choice to find happiness in spite it all is evident throughout this interview, which is surprisingly entertaining given the topic of our discussion.  We first explore his love of acting and directing and how he eventually pursued it as his profession.  He is now a professor and head of the theatre department at Utah Valley University, on top of being a well-known actor and director.

We talk about the huge transitions he and his family has faced the past year plus since his diagnosis, what physical symptoms he deals with daily, what he is the saddest about losing to his disease, what he has learned about himself through it all, and how he still finds the will to continue progressing in his personal and professional life in spite of it all.  

You can listen to this podcast below, or on iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Pocketcasts, Googleplay, or search for "About Progress" wherever you get your podcasts.  If you like the show, please subscribe!!

Show Notes:
Christopher's Instagram
Last week's episode with Emily Nelson
SURVEY!!!! (It takes less than a minute to fill out--thank you!)
Monica's Facebook and Instagram
Contact Monica
Free Audiobook through Audible! (Affiliate link)
More Podcasts from About Progress
Song Credit: "Sweet Promise" by Nicolai Heidlas


  1. Chris and his family are truly an inspiration and example of how to adapt to a new normal with such positivity. Their grace and humor and love for each other are truly incredible.

  2. This is beautiful--thank you. Chris and Lisa have always been inspiring by, as Chris said, living proactively, and by making the world a better place through laughter. Genuine laughter has a lovely healing quality. My heart and prayers continue to be with their family at this time.

  3. I have been suffering from amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS) disease for the last three years and had constant pain, especially in my knees. my first sign that something was wrong, was my slurred speech. And then the inability to eat without getting choked, strangled, and coughing.Throughout my three years ordeal, i was able to walk with assistance nothing was really working to help my condition.I went off the riluzole (with the doctor’s knowledge) and started on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis herbal formula i ordered from Health Herbal Clinic, Just 7 weeks into the Herbal formula treatment I had great improvements with my slurred speech, there is no case of constant pain and chest tightness since treatment, visit Health Herbal Clinic official website www. healthherbalclinic. net or email info@ healthherbalclinic. net. This treatment is incredible!

  4. These are the people in my neighborhood, in my neighborhood, in my neighborhood. Oh, these are the people in my neighborhood. They're the people that I love each day! ALL of them!

  5. Topher, thank you so very much for sharing your life with us. I have been suffering from depression for many, many years, and your words are the first to really reach me and help me to think in other ways to break free from it. I don't want to waste this life anymore. God has given me this gift and I don't want to waste it. Thank you. And thank you, Monica.

  6. Thank you both for sharing. My mom has stage 4 cancer and I wish she would talk about how it's affecting her as a person and not just physically. The Clark children, family, and friends will find this interview to be of great worth. Thank you, Sarah


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