Currently attending college at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College studying Management Information Systems, this inspiring young man has gone through a great journey in the recent years. In august of 2007 he suffered from a paralyzing virus that caused a mass to form on his spinal cord.
This virus, Epstein-barr more commonly known as infectious mononucleosis (mono), has caused a huge change in his life, but has allowed him to evolve as a person and become more of who he is today.
It has also led him on an ever evolving journey to reach out to others by telling his motivating story of persistence in faith and reliance on family. Faith for Josh was not something that came about suddenly, but rather a journey that started early on in his life. Attending Catholic elementary school, Josh was instilled with sound moral Catholic values. Along with attending a Catholic school he was also very active in the parish community being involved in youth group during his high school years, attending conferences such as the Diocese of Buffalo youth convention and Kingdom Bound at Darien Lake Theme Park as well as help to teaching the younger members of the parish the ways of the Catholic Church through the religious education department.
Josh starts every talk by discussing his past and giving background information, and then dives into the story of when and how he became paralyzed while surfing in Hawaii only to later find out the paralysis was caused by a virus that to most is virtually harmless had settled in his spinal cord causing the paralysis. He also discusses all the stories in between citing how faith and family played a roll along the way. Faith and Family did not just develop at the time of paralysis but was a combination of events from pre-injury. He enjoys finishing up the remaining time with a question and answer session where he is open to answering anything from family questions, those about faith, to those about daily life in a wheelchair hoping to leave no questions unanswered.
"My personal story is one of a never ending journey to develop my character and spread my knowledge and faith onto others. I have been through a great journey in the past year and a half or so. I just celebrated my 21st birthday but feel so much older than that. When I really reflect on this past few years I think man have I grown up fast, the responsibility and maturity level that someone with a spinal cord injury has to have is incredible to me, faith has helped me with that maturity greatly." – Josh Brunner