At the age of 9, Josh Sundquist started having some pain in his left leg. As it turned out, it was not the growing pains or pulled muscle that most 9 years old’s get. Turned out to be cancer.
He had chemotherapy. He lost his hair. He hated the thought of being the only kid in town that was bald. Then he came home from a chemo treatment and discovered that his 7-year-old brother had shaved his head. That weekend, 18 of his friends came over and they had a head shaving party.
Josh was told that he had a 50% chance to survive his cancer if he followed all his treatment. Unfortunately, part of that treatment included amputating his left leg just below the hip.
The day of his surgery, as he and his parents sat on the hospital bed hugging his left leg, the doctor came in with a nurse pushing a wheelchair. The doctor told him it was time for the procedure and asked him to get in the chair. Joshua looked down at his leg and then back up at the doctor and said: “I think I'll walk.”
Walking down that corridor toward the operating room, he could feel the cold, hard tile beneath his terrycloth hospital socks. He knew that it would be the last time he would ever walk with two legs again. It was the hardest walk he had ever taken in his life.
A few years later he took up the sport of Alpine Skiing, his prior favorite sport of soccer not being too conducive to a guy with one leg. A coach saw him and asked if he had ever considered training for the Paralympic Games. It was a conversation that would change his life. He began to practice the habit of “One More Thing, One More Time”. When he could not add a different exercise to his workout, he added one more. When he could not do one more rep, he did one more.
After training and competing full time for 6 years, he was named to the 2006 United States Paralympic Ski Team. The coach told him that the United States had named its team – the top 20 ranked skiers in the U.S. He was ranked number 20. He imagined what it would have been like to find out that he was ranked number 21. He would have wondered if he could have just done one more thing, one more time.
On March 6, 2006, he walked into the Olympic Stadium in Turin, Italy with his teammates. The stadium was packed with people. There were cheers, there were fireworks. His Mom and Dad were in the audience cheering him on. It was the most glorious walk of his life.
He realized at that moment that the only reason he was making the most glorious walk of his life was because of the hardest walk he had ever made in his life.
Are you going through a hard walk in your life right now? Do one more thing. Do it one more time. Take one more step. You never know where it might take you.
Please don't hesitate to contact me at 405.608.1903 or firstname.lastname@example.org if there is anything I can do for you.
Joey P. Root
President & CEO