Dr. Josh Wandell, former principal of East Side Elementary School in Elizabethton, is approaching the fourth year of his ALS diagnosis. To say he has surpassed the deadline he was given is a gross understatement. His motto of Faith Over Fear has never been put to the test more than this past year. Josh was hospitalized the day after Christmas with respiratory problems and every ALS patient’s worst fear, pneumonia. An eighteen day hospital stay and a tracheostomy became a game changer. Trach care meant twenty-four hour nursing care. Josh discussed his options with his beloved wife and children and after several days of prayerful consideration made the decision to have the trach. The family was told that he would no longer be able to speak or eat but the trach would benefit him in his daily living. If you ever had any doubt about Josh’s faith, toughness, and will to live, you should have experienced the first words he mouthed after surgery, I CAN BREATHE. The surgery has indeed been a game changer for the Wandell family, however, in a positive way. The family has added wonderful nursing care to the existing care he receives, and new relationships have been formed with his constant caregivers.
If you think for one minute that Josh has slowed down or went downhill, you don’t know Josh or his faith. Since his hospital stay, he has continued to enter races guided by his wonderful group of faithful runners. He goes out to eat with his family and friends and attends movies and ballgames. He has a little extra equipment to tag along and a constant nurse companion everywhere he goes. Josh has a wonderful following of friends that are constantly visiting and pitching in to help the family in any way possible. He refers to his race helpers as selfless in that they forgo racing on their own to bring him joy.
One of Josh and his family’s dear friends, Dayla Hurley, created a blog to let people know what’s going on with the Wandells. Please visit http://wandellsfaithoverfear.blogspot.com/ to view this new communication. Just to give you a peek into Josh’s life, on Friday, May 5, 2017, the East Side Elementary School Early Learning Center will be named in his honor. This is a tremendous honor for Josh and his family, and ESES is right up there on the list with his faith and family. On Sunday, May 7, 2017, Josh will be speaking at South Side Christian Church. Wait a minute, speaking? Yes speaking with the help of wonderful technology Josh will be sharing his faith through his speech generating device.
Josh fights ALS every minute of every day with every ounce of strength he has; you may not think he is winning the battle, but you are wrong as wrong can be. Josh is winning the battle through his faith and the help of his family and friends. Josh will ask you to pray for his wife, his kids, and his family. His family will ask you to pray for Josh. So, please keep the Wandell family in your prayers and remember how important it is for you to be a part of this Team Wandell army that is in the biggest battle of their lives with a giant called ALS. Josh’s and your faith will be greater than any fear ALS brings.
Please continue to visit our website teamwandell.com and our Team Wandell Facebook page for news and upcoming events. And please mark your calendar for Saturday, September 23, 2017 for the 5th Race For Wandell.