Car wash fundraiser to aid Granite Falls teacher, coach

GRANITE FALLS — A car wash is planned Saturday to help a retired teacher and basketball coach for the Granite Falls School District.

Keith Johnson, 58, was diagnosed in July 2009 with multiple system atrophy, a neurodegenerative disorder that includes symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Johnson and his wife, Pam, recently bought a wheelchair-accessible van and money raised will help them with the cost of the vehicle. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the former Oso Lumber parking lot at 301 E. Stanley St.

Kristen Curry, a friend of the Johnsons, helped Ernie Goshorn, another retired coach and teacher in the school district, organize the event. She created a Facebook page to promote the fundraiser.

“We’re hoping for a really large turnout,” Curry said. “It’s about coming out and loving these two amazing people.”

Johnson taught special education classes in Granite Falls for the last 14 years of his 26-year teaching career. He retired after he was diagnosed with multiple system atrophy. There is no remission or cure for the disease, Pam Johnson said.

“We’ve had time to take this all in,” she said. “We have strong family support, church support and community support, and we need it. We’re doing OK though and we have hope for a miracle.”

The Johnsons owe $22,000 for the van and are thankful for those who have organized and plan to donate during the community fundraiser. The car wash is also an opportunity to educate others about her husband’s disease, Johnson added.

“There are no support groups for it in this area,” she said. “It’s very rare. We need to educate people about it.”

There is no set cost to have a car washed, Goshorn said. People are just asked to give what they can.

“He just happens to be a quality guy,” he said. “He’s such a man of integrity. I just felt we had to do something.”

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

If you go

A car wash fundraiser for Keith and Pam Johnson is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the former Oso Lumber parking lot, 301 E. Stanley St. in Granite Falls. Money raised at the event goes toward paying for a wheelchair accessible van for Keith Johnson. Donations can also be made to the Keith Johnson MSA account at any Key Bank branch.

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