“What can I do for others, that will go through what I went through?”
The Joshua Ray Smallwood Foundation is a non-profit public charitable organization formed under IRS Code 501(c)(3) that was started in memory of a brave young man who waged a valiant war against testicular and germ cell cancer for over a year. His faith and determination to conquer his illness carried him much farther than his body could withstand. His will to conquer never diminished. His battle showed what true courage really is. Josh was a wonderful son and brother who will continue his important destiny even now. Part of the fulfillment of his destiny is the forming of these organizations.
Who Is Joshua?
Joshua Ray Smallwood was born on December 16th, 1987. Named after the bible verse Joshua 1:9 which reads “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” This verse ultimately became his battle cry.
All of his life, Joshua had a contagious, funny and outgoing personality. In short order, people of all walks of life were drawn to him, a friend to all from the young to the elderly. He was known and loved by many. Joshua could be depended on to work hard and play hard too. Even miles away from home, one might find someone who knew him and was affected by him. Whether Joshua was a source of laughter or a shoulder to cry on, he was there for others during tough times. No matter what the situation was, Joshua was able to make a difference in the lives around him and will forever be imprinted in the minds of all who knew him.
He was the type of person one could count on to be there, just never on time. Josh’s “I’ll be there in a minute,” usually meant another hour or two. His famous line, still used in the family, “I’m right around the corner,” really implies thirty minutes later. When Joshua would finally arrive, it was impossible to stay mad about his tardiness because he would quickly have the room rolling with laugher about something ridiculous. He had a way of turning even the simplest of stories into the most exciting, comical, interesting story you had ever heard.
Joshua really enjoyed riding motorcycles at the desert and in the mountains; he enjoyed camping and fishing, golf, snowboarding, disc golf and beer-pong. At the young age of 21 he was very much a typical invincible young man.
Josh was diagnosed on January 28, 2009, after what we thought was going to be a visit to the doctor with his typical winter cold, maybe bronchitis or something of that nature. To our surprise we were told there was a large mass discovered on an x-ray of his chest. The tumor was located between his left lung and chest wall, compressing his left lung. The type of cancer that Joshua had is not presented as often and is also known as Mediastinal Extragonadal Germ Cell due to the fact that it did not appear in his testes but in his chest. Although Josh would face what doctors considered to be a very treatable cancer, none of us could have prepared for or imagined what would happen almost a year later. No one should ever have to endure what Josh suffered, especially considering that he had just turned 21 years of age when his war began. During those thirteen months, Joshua’s cancer toyed with all of us. At one doctor’s visit, it seemed as though he was winning his battle, but by the next visit it wasn’t looking as good as it was in in previous doctor’s visit. February came, and as we had to say our goodbyes to our Joshua as he slipped away in his father’s arms, we had smiles on our faces and tears on our cheeks because we knew he was no longer in the pain he had felt from that year of sickness and countless surgeries. Joshua showed so many of us what true courage really looks like.
There are two dates that they carve on your stone, the date that you came into this world and the date that you leave, but the most important part is the little dash in between. The dash was the life that Joshua lived; a courageous, honest, loving, and exciting life. One may think that Joshua’s life ends at that second date, but it truly is only the beginning. Even after his passing, Joshua continues to imprint himself in lives everywhere. Joshua added another dash to his legacy and continues to prevent others from having that final date stamped on theirs.