Country Drummer Profiled in Huntington’s Documentary
Trey Gray may not be a name many people recognize, but they certainly know his work. The drummer has played with some of music's biggest artists, including Faith Hill, Brooks & Dunn and Jewel, and currently tours with Ronnie Dunn.
While he might be professionally at the top of his game, personally, the picture looks much different. Diagnosed in 2003 with Huntington's disease -- a rare, genetic brain disorder that will slowly rob him of his physical and mental abilities over time -- Gray knows he is a ticking time bomb, as he watched his own mother and uncle battle the same illness. Still, he insists he doesn't want, or deserve, anyone's pity.
“I’m blessed,” the 45-year-old tells Nashville's Tennessean. “There’s no ‘Woe is me.’ Millions of people are worse off than I am. Everybody has their crosses to bear, and God never gives us more than we can handle.”
There is only one thought that plagues him, but it's not about himself. The father of three says it's thinking of his children, who each stand a 50-50 chance of inheriting the disorder, that makes him worry.
“I’ve never had the thing of, ‘Why, me?’ he says. "What bothers me is whether it will have an effect on my children.”
Against all odds, Gray is still drumming, and is grateful for the support from the music community. “Everyone I’ve worked for has been really generous and nice, and that’s helped me to stay positive,” he notes. “Again, I’m blessed. To have played with three artists that have sold millions of records is an incredible blessing.”
Gray is part of a documentary, 'Alive & Well,' that focuses on seven people who are battling the disease. He also started the Trey Gray Fund at Vanderbilt University in Nashville to help fund research, as well as help families who are dealing with the devastating disease.
“Seventy percent of what we get goes to science, to research,” he boasts. “Sometime, there’s going to be at least a drug developed that’ll help us daily. There are so many great people working on this, at Vanderbilt and all over the world, and I’m thinking my generation will be the last to have to deal with this as a death sentence.”
For more information on 'Alive & Well,' click here.