Mid last week during Jetpilot’s annual summer sales meeting our staff were given the opportunity to listen to an inspirational story of dedication.
The team were spellbound by Josh Wood’s story. The day his life changed forever.
Josh was born in Melbourne in 1981, even before he could walk Josh was on a push bike, Skiing at 2 years old, riding dirt bikes at 5, this early start set him up for a life of action sports.
“We lived on 80 acres, dad built me a little moto track which I rode every night after school, and all day over the weekends, I was never off it. Around 1992 snowboarding came into my life, I found a sport that was an equal in my life to dirt bikes. As they are two very expensive sports I was forced to make a decision, we lived close to the mountains so snowboarding became my priority. I honestly feel I would have gone further with dirt bikes but we didn’t have the financial backing nor the time my parents needed to put into traveling to races.”
Still at school, Josh was 15 when the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself and he was given the chance to spend 4 months in the Swiss Alps as an exchange student. His overactive mind never settled while he attended school in the mountains, so Josh did what every kid dreams of – after he finished year 12 he pursued his dream of becoming a professional snowboarder.
“My teacher soon told me don’t bother coming to class anymore (laughs) so I rode every day I was there with older, much more experienced riders. That’s where I truly fell in love with my board and the freedom of snowboarding”
At 18, Josh was in between jobs and living off his savings. All he wanted to do was ride and party.
The day was June 25th 2000, Josh had a job interview at 4pm, not that he knew he would never be making that interview. He was at his local mountain, a day where he was mucking around with his mates. They decided to build a 80+ foot jump across nothing but the asphalt road that lead into the village on the mountain. There was no room for error.
“I was the only one who wanted to jump it, clearly my mates could see how big and bad it was but I was too busy with my eye on the prize not really taking in to account the severity of the situation if something went wrong.”
This is when he changed his destiny forever. Something went terribly wrong when Josh misjudged the jump and hesitated on the up ramp, he rotated upside down and then pin dropped head first onto the asphalt road from the height of a telegraph pole.
“As soon as I stopped I knew id changed my entire life, I stayed calm and told the boys I’d broken my neck. I’m grateful I was never knocked out, otherwise things could have been way worse.”
He was then admitted to hospital where the realisation that he had become a complete quadriplegic crushing his C5, C6, C7, T1, Josh was now paralysed from the neck down, doctor’s said he had 3% chance of any recovery, adamant he would never get out of bed due to the severity of his spinal cord damage. It was if he had died on the road that fatal afternoon.
“The doctors didn’t think I’d survive the 4th day”
Knowing his doctors would mend him, not heal him. Josh and his mother Kay worked tirelessly to prove the medical world wrong. He became a fighter and not let Dr’s judge his recovery or life. Defying all odds, 5 month’s on, Josh was able to get out of his bed and walk through the doors of the hospital that they wheeled him on a stretcher.
“I never went back to mainstream rehab, I trained with a PT 3 times a week, swam every day and tried to get as much of my life back, after 2-3 years I ditched my wheelchair, within 7 months post injury I got back on my dirt bike and 3 years later nearly to the day I got back on the same board I had my accident on. Lucky I didn’t listen to the Drs.”
Presented with his new life, Josh with less than 5% of his spinal cord functioning, has found his life extremely difficult not only physically but mentally.
“I’m so much more grateful for what I have now, the people in my life, friends and family. I love sharing my time with positive people not negative ones, its super tough living with this injury, it never leaves, even though I can walk, I go through everything someone in a chair does. Honestly I’d be in less pain if I didn’t walk all the time, but I worked so hard to get here. I am not going to take for granted what I have gained back, so while I’m still able I will continue to walk.”
Josh is taking his story around the country to help change lives. Letting people see there path in life, help people change their mind set that are stuck in their ways, getting people through addictions, loss, heartbroken relationships just letting people see that there will be a brighter day.
“Knowing I’ve helped change someones life and helped them find inner strength to keep fighting for their dreams instead of ending their own is more reward than money can buy.”
“I make a big goal then I break that big goal into small goals, steps to get me to where I want to be, I celebrate every milestone and never take it for granted, mentoring 100’s of injured people over the years I’m constantly reminded to be grateful, it can always be worse off, there’s people out there that would love to have my “problems”, I don’t have much time for self-pity.”
Josh turned the impossible into the possible! He decided to share his power of self- will and the resilience of the human spirit in a book, “Relentless – Walking against all odd’s”. This is an in depth read about Josh’s life, in hope to drive those suffering horrible injury’s to never give up, fight every day and the value of being RELENTLESS in the quest to never give up on your goals.
“It’s been insane the feedback I’ve had from all around the world with my book. To be honest I think it’s changed more “able” bodied people’s lives than spinal cord injured people.”
Jetpilot took a shine to Josh’s message and vision to help change the way we view our lives. JP have now teamed up with Josh making him an ambassador through his mentoring and talks through schools and the corporate business world helping out both adults and kids that are struggling with direction.
“We are going to do a collaboration T-Shirt, which I will be handing out to kids to help make them feel they are a part of something. Many kids these days are dropping out of school, fighting, rebelling, turning to drugs and alcohol and unfortunately suicide, simply because they may not feel they are a part of something, their community, school, home etc. It can only take a simple gift, gesture to change a life.”
2015 is our year #BeRelentless2015.
“I just want to thank the entire JETPILOT team we met on our trip to Goldie, you all made Amelia and I feel like family, from the dispatch boys, the reps to the designers, you truly are all amazing, friendly crew who we are honoured to now be a part of. I’d also like to thank the JETPILOT riders Cory & Brad Teunissen and Chris Dunn for taking Amelia and I out on their boat, seeing them ride was so good and then for them to have the patience to get me to one of my goals that I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to do. I lost count how long it took me to get up but once I did it was a feeling I haven’t had in many years, I even beat my goal of 15 metres and my legs lasted 20+ metres before they bailed on me, at least I know I’ll keep going further now, you boys are legends and was grateful to share that experience with you boys.”