Harrisonburg Native Inspires Through National Bestseller

By: McKinsey Harris Email
By: McKinsey Harris Email

A Harrisonburg native is inspiring people all over the county with his new memoir.

Josh Sundquist lost his left leg to a cancerous tumor in his femur when he was nine-years-old.

Four years ago, he was on the US Paralympics team, and on Friday, his memoir became a national bestseller.

"Just I'm kind of always looking for new ways to share my story, like YouTube videos, writing blogs, the book was sort of a natural progression for me," says Sundquist.

Sundquist has been working on his memoir, "Just Don't Fall," for two years, and says he feels many people can connect with his book.

"Obviously my story is about overcoming bad things in life. And I think that's something everyone can relate to," says Sundquist.

A 2006 Paralympic athlete, Sundquist's passion for skiing began right here in the Shenandoah Valley when he was going through chemotherapy at nine-years-old.

"Yeah, I first learned to ski at Massanutten on all of their awesome, fake snow. But I guess this week they have a lot of real snow. But normally a lot of fake snow, and progressed from there and started racing in Colorado later," says Sundquist.

Even as challenging as it is to become an Olympic athlete, Sundquist says he didn't want to regret not going after his dreams.

"You know some people go to the Olympics with this 'I'm trying to win a medal' kind of attitude, and I'm kind of like, 'Whoa, I can't believe I got here.' So it was pretty special," says Sundquist.

Sundquist says even though he had some rough times in his life, his local support group was, and still is, there for him.

"I have an amazing family and just this community, the Harrisonburg community, was like rallied around my family during the time I had cancer. And I think between all that, yeah, things have turned out better than I ever could have imagined during cancer," says Sundquist.

Aside from sharing his memories of the Paralympics, Sundquist says he's been enjoying this year's winter Olympics.

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