“Last Wish” photoshoot gives family memories for a lifetime

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KENDALLVILLE, Ind. (WANE) — A Kendallville man received the birthday present of a lifetime.

Lyla Griebel, 9, spent Sunday morning getting ready to celebrate her dad Cortland Griebel’s birthday. Lyla made a few costume changes throughout the party because even though it was her dad’s birthday, Lyla’s family celebrated her prom, graduation, and wedding; events that her dad’s illness may keep him from seeing.

“Huntington’s Disease is a neurological disease that basically just kills your brain cells off and overtime you progressively get worse,” said Jill Griebel.

Her husband Courtland is a resident at Orchard Pointe Health Campus in Kendallville. His Huntington’s disease has been progressing steadily since he was diagnosed in 2009 and because there is no known cure at this time there is no telling how much time they have left with him. For his birthday, Heartland Home and Health Hospice threw a Last Wish photoshoot for the Griebels to create those moments Courtland might now be there for. The photos are something the Grabels will be able to cherish for the rest of his life and theirs.

“[They’re] Really special to me,” said Lyla. “I can’t really explain it much. I can’t really put it into words.”

While the day was a fun experience for the family of three and they are happy to have the photos, it does not make their situation easier.

“I know it’s really special to Court because we really can’t take him to events anymore because it’s really hard to leave the nursing home,” said Jill. “We love it here, he gets great care, but sometimes it’s hard to be a family in a nursing home.”

As hard as it may get, moments like this remind Jill of the positives.

“Experiences like this kind of give me hope for the world and for people just because it’s good to know that there are people out there that care about us.

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