Joshua Johnson reflects on the past year and how sharing his story and riding in POHR kept hope alive after his battle with cancer. (And he shares some exciting news!)
Joshua Johnson’s life has been one of many miles and miracles. In 2009, Joshua was diagnosed with a life-threatening cancer that had him going through two surgeries, many chemotherapies, nearly life-ending complications and all this while living miles from home at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Cleveland. Miraculously recovering in 2011, Joshua and his wife, Ali, embarked upon their first 328-mile journey of the Pan Ohio Hope Ride. After seeing the ride at the Kick-Off Dinner in 2011, Joshua was determined to ride in the event and he did in 2012 and again in 2013.
At the Kick-Off Dinner in 2013, Joshua and Ali, were the featured speakers as they shared their cancer story with their fellow riders and Hope Lodge guests. Ali and Joshua were both inspiring and inspired. Joshua, despite a sore knee, pedaled on throughout the four days and always with the thought “I ride for those who can’t.”As Joshua said, “My life is purpose driven”and as the result of his treatments Joshua had to accept that he would never become a father. Choosing to focus on the good things in his life, Joshua says that his miles and trials have “forced me to see more clearly, strengthen my faith and count my blessings”. Pedaling all those miles helped Joshua to see joy, feel hope and it also brought sharper focus to his desire to help others strengthen their hope.
Joshua will ride again in 2014 and he looks forward to this year’s ride with more hope, energy, optimism and the joy of knowing that miracles can and do happen. Against all medical and mathematical odds, Joshua and Ali are expecting a “miracle” baby boy. The joy of finishing the ride was eclipsed by the amazing news! Ali found out she was pregnant just weeks after the 2013 ride and Joshua and Ali were overwhelmed with the miracle of such a blessing. As Joshua prepares to ride in 2014, those miles will mean even more as he pedals for “those that can’t,” he will also be riding toward a future – a future that means not only more birthdays for him, but also the joy of sharing with Ali another “miracle” birthday – the birth of their first son.
I ride for those who can’t.
Joshua Johnson (and Ali and Jericho)