Someone You Should Know: Clipper Jim

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – It’s a laugh you can’t miss – one neighbors often hear coming from Jim Dresch’s barber shop.

”I just love what I do,” said Dresch.

He’s better known as “Clipper Jim.”

He’s been cutting hair in Sioux Falls for 50 years.

”I just go for it,” said Dresch.

It was in this exact barber shop when Clipper Jim received news that turned his world upside down.

As a kid, Jim could never breathe easily, confusing doctors with his odd health symptoms. One day, he was ironically cutting a doctor’s hair when he got the phone call with the long-awaited answer.

”One day, my great niece in Arizona was born with it, and at that moment they said to my niece, ‘somebody in your family has got this,’” said Dresch.

That somebody was Jim. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that primarily attacks the lungs.

At 51 years old, Jim was diagnosed surprisingly late in life. In fact, most doctors say cystic fibrosis patients don’t live past their 30’s or 40’s.

At 76 years old, the great-grandfather is one of the oldest living people with cystic fibrosis in the entire country.

”Have a real positive attitude about the fact that you’re going to live longer than what most people think you are, because you can. If you’re the person that’s going to dwell on that, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said Dresch.

Cystic fibrosis is just the beginning for the upbeat barber. He battled colon cancer seven years ago, and like many with cystic fibrosis, he is also diabetic.

Jim does hours of treatment every day before and after work. He takes about 12 pills, takes insulin four times per day, does several inhaler treatments, and wears a vibrating vest, something he says he always does with a smile on his face.

”I get up in the morning, I do all my treatments and I walk out that door just like I’m a normal person,” said Dresch.

Of all the medicine Jim takes, he says laughter is the most important for having a good hair day and a good everyday.

”I’m going to keep going, so that’s where I’m at,” said Dresch. “That’s my story.”

When Clipper Jim isn’t cutting hair, you can find him on the golf course.

The 7th annual “Clipper Jim Invitational” tournament is this Friday at the Willow Run Golf Course. Proceeds will benefit the cystic fibrosis foundation. Jim’s entire family will be driving and flying out to come support him this weekend.


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