Decorah family works to overcome daunting odds - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Decorah family works to overcome daunting odds

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by Jenn Jarvis

DECORAH (KWWL) -- Recovering from the flood hasn't been easy for anyone, but one Decorah family finished the repairs on their home, only to find out they'd be losing their sole source of income. And all this on top of dealing with their daughter's lifelong illness.

Doctors said Courtney Smith would never live past the age of two, but now at ten years old, everyday is still a battle.

"Basically we live one day at a time and wait. Whatever happens the next day happens," Kris Smith, Courtney's mom, said.

Courtney has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, meaning she has almost no use of her muscles.

And in June when the flood waters moved closer to their home, evacuating meant more than just grabbing a change of clothes.

"Her room is full of very expensive medical equipment, we started loading that up and got her into the van, by that time it was coming up the driveway," Kris said.

The Smith's came home to find problems with their foundation and cracks in the walls. But they saw it as an opportunity to make the house more accessible for Courtney and took out a loan to pay for the construction.

"We were able to manage things financially without any problem, well that all came to an end here just a few weeks ago," Bill Smith, Courtney's dad, said.

Just two months after taking out the extra loan, Bill lost his job. And while he is looking for another, it's doubtful it will have the same salary or benefits as his previous job of almost 20 years.

"At that time if I had know, had any indication my job was in jeopardy, we wouldn't have proceeded with the improvements," Bill said.

Facing an uncertain future, the community has stepped in, hoping to raise enough money to pay off part of their debt.

"Makes us feel good. It's good to know there are people out there like that," Kris said.

The fundraiser for the Smiths includes three days of fall activities at the Oaks Steakhouse in Decorah. It runs Oct. 29-31, and includes a costume party and raffle.

Online Reporter: Jenn Jarvis
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