In the summer between Joshua’s freshman and sophomore year at the University of Arizona, he began experiencing a “heavy” left leg, difficulty walking, and double vision. At only 18 years old, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis that had already caused extensive lesions throughout his brain and spine. Since that time, Joshua has been in and out of the hospital with new and varying symptoms that have caused increasing disability including vision loss, balance/coordination issues, as well as cognitive and memory impairment. Now at 20 years old, Joshua’s entire central nervous system is under attack by his own immune system, and he is facing a likely future of blindness and being confined to a wheelchair. There is no cure for Multiple Sclerosis and his disease has continued to progress despite being treated with multiple disease-modifying drugs. Because of the severity of his case, Joshua has been accepted to receive a Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant on a compassionate basis. This transplant will be conducted at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago and involves chemotherapy and subsequent transplant of his own stem cells to “reboot” his immune system. This transplant is Joshua’s best hope to stop the progression of his disease and ensure a good future quality of life. Unfortunately, this transplant is very expensive.
Joshua has spent his entire life in Gilbert, Arizona, attending Heritage Christian Academy and Valley Christian High School. He grew up “on the ice”, playing competitive ice hockey from the ages of 5-17. He played for various teams in the valley, including DYHA Firebirds and the Chandler Polar Bears. Joshua is currently a very proud University of Arizona Wildcat, where he is pursuing graphic design.
June 25, 2016
Hi everyone, I wanted to share a quick update. Although I don’t have full insurance approval, they have approved the first phase of the process which is “pretesting”. The purpose of pretesting is to make sure I’m physically fit enough to undergo stem cell transplant. Tests include blood work, chest X-Ray, EKG, pulmonary function tests, vein check, EDSS evaluation, 2D echocardiogram, dental evaluation, and psychological evaluation. Northwestern is very thorough! I will be in Chicago the week of July 11th for these tests. Results will be given to the insurance company for evaluation. The rest of my dates have tentatively been scheduled also. If approved, I will be in Chicago July 25 – August 5 for stem cell mobilization and harvest, and then will return to stay the month of September for chemotherapy and transplant. I am so blessed to have this opportunity and I am very grateful for your support! Thank you for the prayers, shares, and donations!
June 24, 2016
We flew to Chicago the week of May 23rd to meet with Dr. Richard Burt at Northwestern Memorial. Dr. Burt is the doctor that has pioneered stem cell transplant to treat Multiple Sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. I completed various diagnostic testing, including blood work and MRIs, and then met with Dr. Burt on Wednesday. After reviewing my medical records, the diagnostic testing, and a physical examination, he accepted me on a compassionate basis! I am so very thankful for this opportunity. This is my best hope of stopping the progression of this disease for good and avoiding further disability. I am now waiting for insurance approval. Once I receive insurance approval, I will then be scheduled for additional pretesting. Thank you for your support!
Photo Galleries (5)
August 30, 2016
Joshua, so proud of your faith and courage! (I am Jerry's cousin.) My husband Larry and I have retired in Florida. I just read about your journey and we love your family. We are praying for you and your family.
Cousin Barbara (Roady) Robinson & Husband Larry Robinson
July 21, 2016
Josh, great job this week in Chicago for your first medical tests!! You are a super tough young man...intelligent, strong, and a looker too!! You are blessed with great family support ...we all know you can win this battle. Love ya, Nanna and old grumpy
July 9, 2016
You are in our thoughts and prayers Josh...... We look forward to hearing that this is behind you and that you are doing well.... Stay positive and tough.... You can do this!!!!
The O'Dwyer Family
June 29, 2016
Praying for you and your family Josh!! Complete healing quickly. Keep up the good attitude. That will help tremendously!!