I have decided to write about something other than sports today; my heart is too heavy. My good friends from Marion County, the Griffiths, received news this week that no parents on earth should ever hear. Doctors have told them they are all out of options in treating the cancer that has ravaged the body of their 15 year old daughter and granddaughter. Kennedy Griffith was diagnosed three years ago and has fought the most valiant fight I have ever witnessed. She has undergone dozens and dozens of chemo and radiation treatments. She has lost a leg and a lung, and every time a tumor was killed or shrunk, another one soon appeared. In every case, a doctor would come up with a plan to change treatment, or try something new. This week, doctors told Mark, Pam and Kennedy, there was nothing left to try.
When Kennedy was given the news, she cried hysterically, then sobbed herself to sleep. Without further radiation treatments, she would likely live two weeks. If they continue radiation, she could live a month or more. Right now, she will have the treatments for the next two weeks in Houston, Texas then return home.
After reading the latest entry in her CaringBridge journal, I sat at my desk and wept. This is just not right. Parents should never outlive their children. Young people should never have to suffer this much. After a few minutes, I dried my eyes and wrote a message to the family on my facebook timeline. I borrowed a quote from my old buddy Roy Exum; one that I have used many times before. "The same everlasting Father, who cares for you today, will care for you tomorrow and everyday. Either He will shield you from suffering, or give you unfailing strength to bear it. So, be at peace. And put away all anxious thoughts and imaginings."
That quote has helped me countless numbers of times in my life. It always seems to give me an inner peace. I hope it helps Pam and Mark as well as grandparents Toni and Wayne. The Griffiths are a much loved and respected family. They are so respected in fact, a lot of folks who are not related to them feel as if they too are family. It's easy to see where Kennedy gets her fighting spirit;her grandmother, Toni was one of the toughest athletes to ever graduate from Whitwell High School.
I worship a wonderful and loving God. Yet, there are many things in life we are not supposed to understand. He has chosen to clear things up for us when we get to heaven; something I truly believe. I also believe he hears every single prayer we utter to him. He answers most of them, though a lot of times it may not be the answer we hoped for. And, I do believe in miracles. Nothing is too powerful or advanced for God to defeat. I am continuing to pray for strength, as well as peace for the Griffith family. But I am also still praying for a miracle; just one more miracle.
Randy Smith firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Red Bank High School in Chattanooga. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).
Kennedy Griffith with dad Mark Griffith, director of Marion County Schools