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Race for Wandell

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The "Race for Wandell" 3K Run/Walk will be held Saturday (September 14th) at 10 a.m. at East Side 
Elementary School in Elizabethton.  

The benefit will be held in honor of East Side Elementary School principal Dr. Josh Wandell who was recently diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

Learn more about the walk at www.teamwandell.com .

Below is the report that recently aired on News Channel 11.

Josh Wandell will tell you overcoming challenges is part of an elementary school principal's job.

"First full day of school this semester, our first lunch was to be served at 10:35 a.m., " Dr. Wandell said.  "At about 10:20 a.m., the oven in the cafeteria was not working."

And overcoming challenges is part of the Dr. Wandell's unspoken lesson plan for life at East Side Elementary School.  

"We're here to encourage them and pull them through and show them that there is hope in often hopeless situations sometimes," Wandell said.

But now the 34-year-old is teaching that lesson in ways he never imagined.

"I don't pray for a cure for me or a mis-diagnosis," said Wandell.  "I just pray for God's will in my life."

After back pain and an increasing amount of weakness in his left leg, Wandell underwent multiple tests under the care of several doctors.

"I thought something was wrong but I didn't know what it was," said Wandell.

The tests revealed nothing.

Finally, a physician told him he has ALS, the neurodegenerativie disease commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.  According to the ALS Association of Tennessee, there is no known cure for ALS.   The average life expectancy of a person with ALS is 2 to 5 years from time of diagnosis.  And the average age of people who develop ALS is 55. 

"There was a seven day period, about a week, that I cried.  I was really upset," said Wandell.   "But through prayer, I've been given the gift of real peace about this."

He's also been given the gift of tremendous community support.   Cards and letters of encouragement arrive at his office and home almost daily, and friends even created the "Race for Wandell," a 3K Walk/Run set for September 14th with a Facebook page that already has more than 2,240 "likes."

"To see God's hand in all this is really amazing, and it also creates a great sense of peace for me in my life," said Wandell.  "I'm trying to be still and to watch God, not only deliver me but to deliver my family, my friends, and this community, to let them see Him work a miracle whatever that may be.  And that may not be curing me from this disease."

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