Josh Wilson was diagnosed with a brain tumour when he was the tender age of three. After going through life saving surgery he was unfortunately left in a coma for three months, also developing epilepsy, joint problems, scoliosis and a brain injury. Despite these hurdles, Josh (aka Super Josh) spawned the beginning of The Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity that now offers help, support and financial solutions to children and their families who are in the same situation.
Although Josh lost the ability to communicate verbally, he developed a series of signs that allowed him to talk to the ones he loved, this includes a thumbs up, for yes, which was consequently developed into the charities logo. As a registered charity, spearheaded by the thumbs up logo, Josh with his parents and close friends have managed to raise £100,000 through organising several ‘Thumbraisers’ in cities all across the UK, with the name again being inspired by Josh’s clever signings.
You can donate by simply texting SJBT13 followed by £1, £2, £5 or £10 to 70070.
Josh was very proud of his charity and what it had become, however it was with great sadness that Josh passed away in November after his long-standing post surgical problems. This has not halted the charities efforts however as it is continuing to put on Thumbraisers to continue helping children like Josh and their families. Since the charity was set up, a number of patrons have stood by the charity, these include Adrian Morley, Kay Burley, Richard Fairbass, Peter Fahy and in particular Sacha Lord-Marchionne of The Warehouse Project.
As one of the founders of the inimitable Manchester club series The Warehouse Project and Parklife Festival, he has provided support for the charity through his events that are popular with the entire country and beyond. We were happy to talk to him recently about the charity and how he got involved…
Joshua Wilson with mother, Dawn and Sacha of The Warehouse Project and Parklife Festival
Hi Sacha, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. We have been learning a lot recently about the charity that your group is rather heavily involved in, The Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity. Could you talk a bit about what the charity is set up to achieve for those who may not have heard of it before.
I could, but in all honesty, I’d prefer it if people spent just 2 minutes having a look at the website www.joshwilson.org.uk . It explains everything in a far more articulate way than I could! You might even want to get involved!
Where did you first hear about Josh and what he was doing?
I was first told about Dawn (Josh’s mum) and Josh, via a police officer who is based in the area where we put on Parklife. We get approached quite a bit by charities… But there was something about this story that I wanted to find out a bit more.
Joshua Wilson with mother, Dawn and Sir Peter Fahy
After you had met Josh and his family for the first time, how did this meeting influence your want to help and what makes you so passionate about this charity?
We met in the Summer of 2013 at my office. Josh had a poorly chest infection at the time but his smile lit up the whole office. Dawn and I sat and spoke over a coffee and I could tell Josh was listening to every word. When Dawn left, I walked her to her car and on the way back, remember thinking that I really felt that we could make a difference. That single 1 hour, really touched a nerve. What makes me passionate is how passionate Dawn is. The strength and bravery from 1 person, is incredible. Josh had the nickname SuperJosh, but in all honesty, I think it should be SuperDawn too.
So, since that day you have been raising money in a number of ways and it has to be said you will have really made a difference. Could you tell us a bit about what you have been doing during your involvement?
I think the most important thing is awareness. It touched a nerve with me, my partners, the office… but the big difference was it touched a nerve with our customers. I see people coming to WHP or Parklife, who don’t know me, Josh or Dawn but are wearing the SuperJosh badge. I feel like running over and hugging them!
We’ve raised money in several ways but it’s come from our customers, whether it’s donations or competitions, they have been great. Josh has 100s of 1000s of fans! At Parklife, all the staff turned around and donated their tips, I couldn’t believe it.
Do you know how much you have raised for Josh and his charity so far?
We’ve lost count if I’m completely honest. I would have thought it was around the £50,000 plus mark.
It was very sad to learn that Josh has now passed away due to his on-going illness, but obviously you will still remain fully supportive of his cause. Do you have any plans for what you would like to do in the future?
Josh has gone to a better place. He made more people smile in his 14 years, than I ever could in a lifetime. Josh’s funeral was full of tears, but many smiles also. There was humour there, and cake! Just as Josh would have wanted.
Josh’s name will live on forever. Josh, through his mum Dawn, has built a legacy. I truly believe that when Josh sadly passed away it made everyone involved want to do more. More to raise, more to raise awareness and to help more families who are in a similar situation to what Dawn and Josh were in.
There’s one thing I’m sure of… The Josh Wilson legacy will outlive all of us.
If you'd like to donate to The Joshua Wilson Brain Tumour Charity SIMPLY TEXT: SJBT13 followed by £1, £2, £5 or £10 to 70070.
Interview by Josh Plews
Images courtesy of Josh Wilson Charity