‘You live for today, not tomorrow:’ Lenoir City family battling ALS, grateful for community help

Local News

What some might see as setbacks, a Lenoir City family sees as obstacles they can overcome. They say they can’t do it alone, but rather, find the strength with the support of neighbors, friends, and strangers. 

Nearly three years ago, Stacy and Joe Griffith learned Joe was diagnosed ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In that diagnosis, Griffith says, their lives changed. 

“I want to keep our son’s life, and our life, as normal as I can on a day-to-day basis. We still try really hard to do that, to make sure that happens,” said Griffith. 

A year ago, she quit her job to take care of Joe full-time, a decision she says was a “no-brainer”. Since the diagnosis, this family says giving Hemi, their 10-year-old son a sense of normalcy. 

“I don’t worry about the future as much as I did previously. You always think long-term, ‘oh we have 50 more years together… In 20 years we can do that.’ versus – do what you want to do now. There may not be tomorrow,” said Griffith. 

Then, in the last two months, their extended family faced other obstacles. In January, Joe’s daughter suffered a stroke and in February, Griffith’s father’s home caught fire.  

“You just… I don’t know. I just look at it, things happen. You can’t change those things. You just keep going. You live for today, not tomorrow,” said Griffith. 

The family’s neighbors, friends, and even, total strangers, are rallying to help. A neighbor started a GoFundMe to help the family cover the cost of medical bills, rebuilding after the house fire, and other necessities the family may need. 

Griffith says this kindness hasn’t stopped here, but random acts of kindness have taken place since Joe’s ALS diagnosis. At one point, she said, the family received an anonymous envelope with cash in their mailbox. 

Those moments, the positive ones, have the Giffith family saying they are blessed. 

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