Josh Palmer, a young man full of life and ambition, was living his dream at 19. Getting ready to play college football, a goal he had tirelessly pursued throughout his high school years, was finally within his grasp. Then, in an unexpected twist of fate, Josh's world turned upside down. A diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma disease, a form of cancer, ripped him away from the football field and thrust him into a different kind of battle – one for his very survival.
The initial shock of the diagnosis left Josh reeling. Disbelief and fear became his unwelcome companions. The vibrant dreams of victories on the football field faded, replaced by the harsh realities of chemotherapy, hospital visits, and the constant struggle to stay afloat. The weight loss, the loss of taste caused by radiation treatments, and the sheer physical and emotional toll took a heavy toll on him. Josh Palmer had hit rock bottom, questioning his future, and wondering if he would ever see the light of day again.
Through the darkest hours, a beacon of unwavering support shone brightly. Josh's mother (Mary Palmer) emerged as his rock, a constant source of strength and encouragement. Her unwavering belief in him, her gentle reminders that they would fight together, and her unwavering love became the anchor that kept him tethered to hope. Witnessing the tragic loss of young individuals to cancer further fueled Josh's determination. He wouldn't let his fight be in vain. He would live, not just for himself, but for those he had lost and those still battling the disease.
Josh's determination extended beyond surviving the disease. He set himself ambitious goals: completing his education & returning to the football field at Mansfield University, and inspiring others with his story. He embarked on a rigorous journey of recovery, regaining his strength and fitness. He faced the challenges of balancing treatment, studying, and pursuing his athletic passion head-on. His perseverance paid off. He stepped back onto the football field & graduated from Mansfield University, later becoming a graduate assistant for the Mansfield football program after a career ending injury. But through his sheer grit and determination, Josh became an inspiration to countless individuals battling their own adversities.
Refusing to let his illness define him, Josh chose to fight not only for his own survival but also for the well-being of others. In 1999, motivated by an unwavering determination and a desire to create positive change, Josh, alongside his family and members of the community, established the Josh Palmer Fund. This organization serves as a testament to Josh's constant spirit and commitment to making a determined impact in the fight against cancer. Built upon a foundation of community support, the Josh Palmer Fund serves as a vital resource for local cancer patients and their families. By providing financial assistance for the often-overwhelming costs associated with cancer treatment, the Fund aims to alleviate the burden faced by individuals and families navigating this challenging journey. Over the past twenty-five years, the Josh Palmer Fund has continually evolved through the JP Fund Clarion Classic (basketball tournament), JP Fund Golf Tournament, and 100 Inning Baseball Game, fostering strategic partnerships within the healthcare community through Care First, the Falck Cancer Center, and the Guthrie Cancer Center, to expand its outreach efforts to better serve the needs of those affected by cancer. This ongoing development ensures the Fund remains well-equipped to fulfill its mission of providing crucial support to local communities. Through these partnerships and direct patient funding, the Josh Palmer Fund has made a significant impact, having provided nearly $1.5 million in financial support to the community. This vital assistance has helped countless individuals and families focus on their health and well-being during a critical time.
Today, Josh's story continues to inspire many as he continues to connect with & support individuals impacted by cancer. Josh’s story serves as a beacon of hope, reminding others that even amidst the darkest storms, you must preserve & never give up, and that you can make a difference that can truly change the world. Josh's journey is not just about surviving cancer, it's about thriving in the face of it. It's a story of hope, resilience, and enduring power.