This is my brother with my two younger sisters, Rebekah and Rachel

It was so good to have my brother home this past week. With him travelling around the world a good part of the year for training, I don’t get to see him much. Spending time with him is so important and it was so good to be able to talk to him especially after his experiences being at the Boston Marathon and London Marathon.

 

This is Josh (spiral tire chair) at the 2012 London Paralympics

My brother Josh Cassidy is a paralympion competing in wheelchair racing. He was born and two weeks later diagnosed with Neuroblastoma Cancer, which after many surgeries and attempts to remove it, left him paralyzed from the waist down. He began wheelchair racing in highschool, but was never very successful at school meets. After a few years Josh became very skilled and was achieving amazing results. Josh attended the 2008 Beijing Paralympics, as well as the 2012 London Paralympics (which I got to go see!!!) Josh competes in many marathons and has placed first in many and broken several world records.  Josh is one of my biggest inspirations, heroes, and I consider him such a miracle to this world.

 

When I first came home to my sister informing me there had been a planned explosive at the Boston Marathon, my heart had completely stopped. I didn’t know what the next words were going to be coming out of her mouth. To my relief Josh was okay and hadn’t been harmed, but the amount of lives, which were taken or harmed that day, was absolutely horrible and traumatizing. The second explosive that had gone off just a few minutes after the first, was right across from my brothers hotel. He had already completed his marathon and was not on the track way. When the news of the explosives reached the media it had all the family and friends worrying endlessly about Josh. What put our minds at rest however was when we saw Josh in an interview on the news after the explosion.  Josh couldn’t believe how sick people can be that they do such awful things like this. It leaves people uneasy about going to events, or even into public; what has this world come to? Josh had a very good perspective too because he had literally just missed being affected. Having Josh explain all that he had seen and what was occurring in the city at the time, made it feel even more devastating. I thank god everyday that Josh is okay, and keep all the lives that were hurt and ended, as well as their families, in my heart.

 

A few days after Boston, Josh got on a plane to fly over and attend his next marathon in London. Josh trains very hard to prepare for these marathons! It takes months of dedication and determination in order to be successful and place in the top finishers. This year Josh was hoping to take the first place again and beat his best timing. However, at the London marathon, they have the runners begin on the track before the wheelchair racers go. Silly considering the wheelchair racers will obviously be going at a much faster rate than the runners. Not even half way through the race, as Josh was racing one of the runners suddenly went right out in front of him causing a collision not even a quarter of the way through. She was heading to the water stand on the side of the course and hadn’t seen Josh. The crash ruined Josh’s wheels and there for her couldn’t finish the race. The frustration he must have felt I can’t even begin to imagine. Working so hard, for so long, then it just come to an end. When he was talking about it to us it was so hard for him to re-tell the story you could tell. Partially because he had to explain what happened over a million times I’m sure! Aha This hasn’t stopped him though! His training continues and hard work never ends!! This coming weekend he will be partaking in another marathon in India, and is crossing his fingers for no more bad luck! I know myself, and my family are hoping for the best and that he stays safe and healthy!

 


Hearing Josh tell us these stories and explain all that he had gone through makes me look up to him that much more. His dedication to his training, his determination to get to where he wants to be, and his spirit through all he does, is something I hope to have half as great as! I love spending every minute I can with him because I learn so much and I know with what he does and what he tells me that, anything is possible if you put your heart, mind, and soul into it.

Written by: Hannah Cassidy
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