Twenty-four-year-old Josh Sundquist spoke to youth and families from around the region Wednesday night and again last night -- using humor, his personal struggles, and "music" to demonstrate how to take a gigantic lemon and make an enourmous glass of lemonade.
Josh Sundquist, a nationally-known young speaker shared a message of courage and faith with teens and adults from as far away as Newell-Fonda. Sundquist, spoke to area church and youth groups and adults of all denominations at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Milford Wednesday then again last night at the Sami Bedell Center in Spirit Lake.
Both evenings were presented free of charge to the public.
The young speaker, an amputee who functions quite effectively on just one leg, delivered a message of faith, courage and determination in the face of adversity, using a blend of personal stories, recalling his first "dating" experience, complete with artificial leg malfunction; and his mastered "pimp walk" courtesy of his natural limp. His blend of humor, heart and questionable music skills made him a hit with all members of his audience, age not withstanding.
(Photos by Randy M. Cauthron)
Josh Sundquist spent nearly 75 minutes standing on one leg -- most of the time - administering laughter and a message of faith, hope and a desire to succeed regardless of the circumstances to a pair of large audiences in Milford and Spirit Lake the past two evenings.
At the age of 9, a very young Sundquist was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and was given a 50 percent chance to live. After a year of chemotherapy, his left leg was amputated. Sundquist was declared cured at age 13, and three years later he took up ski racing. He trained for the next six years and in 2006 he was named to the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team for the Paralympics in Turino, Italy.
At the age of 18, he was the second youngest person ever accepted as a professional member of the National Speaker's Association.
He has been published in The Washington Post, Daily Guideposts and Current, (Newsweek's college magazine). Sundquist has co-authored the teen devotional book Forty Voices: Stories of Hope from Our Generation.
Among his many other accomplishments, Sundquist has received the "Heroes Among Us" award from the Virginia State Legislature, and was a winner in the American Eagle Outfitter's 2006 "Live Your Life" contest. He was a 2006 "Body-For-Life" grand champion and is a certified personal trainer.
Sundquist is currently featured on the back of Doritos bags nationwide for being the founder of "LessThanFour.org," the world's largest social networking website for amputees.
Sundquist's appearances were sponsored primarily by Dennis and Dori Lippon of Remax, Spirit Lake and the Okobojis, and by Northwest Bank. Other contributing sponsors include Rod and Bonnie Simonson of Milford, and Jerry and Norma Schmitz of Okoboji.