Clinton community comes together to #BattleWithBlake

An MRI revealed Blake had medulloblastoma, a brain tumor.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:35 PM CST
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CLINTON, Iowa (KWQC) - Amber and Mike Griswold could tell something was a bit off about their 9-year-old son, Blake, towards the end of 2022.

“We were under the impression he had vertigo. He was suffering from dizziness, some vomiting, and nausea, and then it escalated and his nausea was daily as opposed to occasionally,” Amber Griswold said.

An MRI revealed Blake had medulloblastoma, a brain tumor.

“He does require aggressive treatment, and that was, to be honest, one of the hardest things to hear,” Mike Griswold said. “After the tumor, we thought we were kind of out of the woods, and then you gotta tell your 9-year-old that he’s not out of the woods.”

“You kind of go through every emotion that you can potentially imagine,” Amber Griswold said.

The Griswold family decided to make shirts that said “We fight together” and ”#BattleWithBlake.”

“It was kind of this idea that we wanted to build support through our community,” Amber Griswold said.

Support from the Clinton community came immediately..The Clinton High School girls’ basketball program wears the ‘Battle With Blake’ shirts during practice and before games.

“A lot of the kids they’ve either babysat the Griswold kids, they’ve had both their parents in class either at the middle school or here the high school,” said Cathy Marx, the head coach of Clinton’s girls’ basketball team. “They are a part of us, they are a part of the River Queen family.”

During Clinton’s games, Veronica Ramirez said Blake is on the team’s mind.

“I always tell the girls in the huddle, when we are going to go out for a game, just know who we are playing for, who’s on our warmup, and try hard for him,” Ramirez said.

Emma Rieseen said the ‘Battle With Blake’ shirt gives her purpose when on the court.

“I’m not just playing basketball. I’m playing for blake, and win or lose that is who we are playing for,” Rieseen said. “No matter the outcome, Blake is going to be our hero at the end of the game.”

The support has extended beyond Clinton and all the way to Iowa City. Grace Griswold, Blake’s sister, received a signed note of support from two of her favorite Hawkeyes, Caitlin Clark and Monica Czinano.

“It meant a lot to know they were caring about me and praying for me, even though they have a packed season,” Grace Griswold said.

“It seems really cool that all of the people are supporting me and helping me,” Blake Griswold said.

“I would just say that [Blake is] very strong and that we are here for him and the whole entire family,” said Avery Dohrn, a senior on the Clinton girls’ basketball team.

“To have coached the kids that we coach at the high school and to see them really step up and show their character, in terms of we support them, and to see that kind of return is really cool because sometimes as coaches and teachers, we don’t get to see that returned, and to see it really has been something special,” Amber Griswold said.