Jazz Fest vendor refuses to let ALS keep him away

Wynton Yates talk to a Jazz Fest vendor who is refusing to let ALS keep him from his snoball stand at the fest.

For the past 30 years, Cee Cee’s Snoball and Popcorn stand has been a staple of Jazz Fest.

After being diagnosed with ALS earlier this year, owner Chuck Marks didn’t think the stand would happen.

In a matter of months, Marks’ diagnosis had progressed so quickly that he found himself unable to walk on his own. 2017 proved to be the first time in three decades he wouldn’t be able to operate his own snoball stand.

"Every day we woke up to a new symptom, a new problem,” said wife Sandra Marks. “He couldn't walk. There were many things that he couldn't do anymore and it was going so fast."

But Sandra explained as fast as the debilitating disease progressed, the help they received from the community around them came even faster.

“Through the ALS support group people got in touch with us and offered to find medical equipment, wheelchair,” said Chuck. “it kept us steady and straight financially.”

With that support, they were able to get Marks wheelchair which would have cost them nearly $38,000. With the help of the Gleason Foundation, they were able to purchase a wheelchair accessible van that would have had a price tag of $50,000.

"Now it gives us the freedom to do what we can do, because without the van you can't," said Chuck.

Anybody that knows Chuck said his presence at the fest makes a difference.

"He came out for the first time last Saturday,” said one worker. “(It) was the only day he could make it out and just seeing him out here just made a world of a difference because it's just not the fest without him out here.”

Now, with the help and support of the community around them, the Marks plan to keep the snoball stand going at Jazz Fest for years to come.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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