RICHMOND TOWNSHIP - William Griffith spent a large majority of his adult life farming, raising jersey cows, as well as many years involved in mechanical, factory and roofing work, so when he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in May of 2016 life altered significantly for him.(From March 3 edition of The News).
No longer able to put in the labor he once did, Griffith became faced with what first started as heartburn in 2015 until coming to the point where he could no longer eat normally.
Life changed for his wife Arleene Griffth too, who said her husband’s condition meant stepping down from her job as a caregiver in order to spend more time assisting him with appointments and everyday tasks.
Griffith’s condition hasn’t been easy since the diagnosis but both have decided to persevere and continue with chemotherapy treatments, which she said lately have had him feeling a lot more energized while also allowing him to gain a little bit of weight.
Unfortunately the treatments have also meant huge hospital bills that would have put Griffiths in a serious financial constraint if it wasn’t for a recent visit from their neighbor Margaret Parks, who suggested she hold a benefit for the couple.
Arleene Griffith said about 20 years ago she had helped Parks with another benefit and was very pleased that her kind neighbor wanted to host one just for them. Since then The Griffiths said that all sorts of people have been putting in time to get ready for the big event, which she said will be taking place Saturday, March 18 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds and will be a free event with all sorts of raffles, a canvas painting activity and more.“Everybody has tried so hard to make this work. To me it’s just unbelievable how people have stepped up,” she said regarding the benefit.
“People I don’t even know,” said William Griffith.
In the meantime the Griffiths will now be able to spend time a little more time resting instead of worrying, knowing that they have support from the community in what they’re facing.
For William Griffith that may mean more time spent with hobbies he enjoys as he’s always had a passion for woodworking, hunting and fishing which helps him relax and enjoy the quiet.
Support from others will also provide time for both of them to upkeep their farm, too, which the Griffiths said consist of horses, jersey cows, chickens, turkeys, cats and a rescue dog, as animals have always been important to them.
Arleene Griffith said her and William have been married for almost 50 years now and first got acquainted at his brother’s wedding in Sheakleyville.
“I was in high school at the time. When I met him the earth shook and the bells rang,” said Arleene Griffith.
The two of them have been close ever since, remaining positive as they do whatever they can to kick the cancer together.
Pictured: Arleene and William Griffith, who this year will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.