Even When You Don’t Think You Can, Do It Anyway

Katie Griffith avatar

by Katie Griffith |

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Greetings! These summer temperatures are getting close to the triple digits down here in Alabama, and honestly, if it doesn’t involve air conditioning, I’d rather not go. I have a 6-year-old who loves baseball, and I love him, so you’ll find me most evenings at the ball field with a cold drink in one hand and a fan in the other.

When we are kids, we think that once we grow up, we will be able to do whatever we want and be completely in control of our futures. If there is something we don’t want to do, then we just won’t do it.

It doesn’t take long to realize that this isn’t true. Paths quickly change and go in directions we never planned. Diseases like Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) are diagnosed, and we must acknowledge that we actually have very little control of our lives.

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My middle son, Noah, was the sweetest and most laid-back baby. From the moment he could talk, he said the word “ball” all day long, and as soon as he could walk, he was playing any sport he could. When he was about 3, he carried a bag around that had everything he needed to play a game of baseball, including the bases. He would play with anyone who would play with him.

At 21, he still loves sports. FA has taken away so many of his abilities, but he does what he can. He attends games for his university and catches as many of his little brother’s games as his schedule permits. He also loves to cheer on the Atlanta Braves!

I get really angry sometimes when I see what FA is doing to his body. It seems so unfair that he should have to struggle for every step while others his age run around and live what seem like such carefree lives.

More than anything, I hate to see him hurt. I remember him as that sweet little boy who could play and do what he loved with ease.

I see him now as a man who works hard to accomplish what he has set out to do. While FA is trying its best to stop him, he is determined not to let it.

Noah, and this amazing FAmily that I get the privilege to observe, encourage me to do hard things. There have been dark times when I wanted to give up, but I am thankful to say that four years after Noah’s dreaded diagnosis, I am still going.

Life isn’t easy for anyone. Traumatic things happen that change our lives forever. All we really can control is our perspective and whether or not we will continue on in the midst of hard times.

I love this poem attributed to Mother Teresa that includes the line: “The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;/ Do good anyway.”

It is OK to rest and reset, but never give up. You are stronger than you know. One step at a time, one day at a time. When you look back, you will realize just how far you have come.

Author Morgan Harper Nichols says it so well: “You have grown, and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living, you are wrapped in endless, boundless grace. And things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday.”

My son Noah can no longer play baseball, but he can still enjoy baseball. He may not be able to do everything he wants, but he wants to do everything he can. So the next time I feel like I can’t take another step, I will think of him — and do it anyway.

Note: Friedreich’s Ataxia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Friedreich’s Ataxia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Friedreich’s ataxia.


Darlene Keebler avatar

Darlene Keebler

My son, Tyler was diagnosed with FA in 2015. Now 24 he was always active in sports, baseball, karate, he made it to get his brown belt before FA took over his life. He is now full time in a wheelchair and the disease is progressing pretty fast now. He philosophy since his he was diagnosed has always been “it might take me a little longer than most but I will get it done!! He works out very day at the gym (2 hrs a day) in his wheelchair. I’m so proud of his determination. I am a full time caregiver and sometime I get discouraged but he always say mama we got this,” that’s all I need to hear and we are back fighting this again together!!

Katie Griffith avatar

Katie Griffith

Tyler sounds like an amazing guy! I am always blown away by the determination I find in the FA community. Blessings to you and your family, Darlene.


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