Presenting with cerebral palsy and restricted mobility as a result of birth asphyxia, the Nambour native has become something of a minor celebrity in recent years after launching his own mowing business, gaining his driver’s licence and joining a gym.
Josh’s dad, Greg, says his son was diagnosed with asphyxia moments after he was born after his blood and oxygen supply was cut off for 53 minutes. “No parent can prepare for the rollercoaster of emotions of nearly losing a first child at birth. It’s been a battle ever since,” he says.
Josh launched his business, JEP Mowing, four years ago but the high tone and spasticity in his legs made it difficult for him to sit and control a traditional mower.
He later discovered a zero-turn mower which enabled Josh to comfortably steer and stop solely with his arms.
However, life changed significantly for the 23-year-old. With the help of his Just Better Care Support Coordinator, Ruth, he was able to get modified disability shoes using his National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding.
“By having these modified disability shoes now, including a second pair for when one’s being repaired, he’s got the feel to drive his car, feel to drive his mowers and the feel to walk around,” Greg says. “His customers love seeing him come out there and having a go on his own mowing equipment. It makes Josh feel like he’s accomplished something for himself and helped someone else.”
But it’s not just in his business that Josh has made progress. When not mowing, he can usually be found camping, four-wheel driving in the bush or supporting his beloved North Queensland Cowboys.
Ruth, who has worked as Josh’s Support Coordinator for two years now, says she admires his outlook on life and get-up-and-go attitude. “Nothing is too hard for him and he gives everything a go.”
Justifiably proud of his new freedoms, Josh regularly makes his own way a few kilometres down the road on his scooter to a local fitness centre where he works out with a personal trainer to strengthen his fragile lower and upper body. His personal trainer Brenton says Josh’s resilience and joie de vivre has taught him there is “always a good side in life”. “There’s always a positive when there is a negative. He shows up every single day with a smile on his fac