Get Back Up: Josh Sundquist Tells FFA Members to Buck Adversity

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By Caroline Weihl, National FFA Convention & Expo Newsroom Reporter

Life is tough. Overcoming adversity in tough times is a life-long practice that challenges many. We often give up. But when an amputee shares how he is able to get up after consecutive falls, does that change our perspective?

Josh Sundquist shared his personal struggles and the comical ways he’s overcome adversity at the seventh general session of the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville.

Beginning his presentation running around the stage and sharing many jocular comments, Sundquist engaged the audience with his embarrassing experiences with one leg. He shared his experience of receiving his cancer diagnosis and losing reach of his dream to play on a travel soccer team.

“When it feels like everything in your life is falling down around you, the best you can hope for is the strength to stand and have the courage to walk,” Sundquist said to a captivated audience.

Even in his moments of defeat, Sundquist saw the positives and pursued them. He set his sights on a new goal, to be a ski racer. With hard work and perseverance, he qualified and skied on the U.S. Paralympic Ski Team. His message to the FFA audience: stay motivated to overcome obstacles and see the opportunities ahead.

“Among all human beings, adversity is universal. I know everyone in the audience has problems they are struggling with right now,” Sundquist said. “Sometimes the uniform we get in life is better than the one we thought we wanted.”

Sundquist was excited about the vibrant, young audience in Freedom Hall and concluded with a personalized, ukulele rendition of Tom’s Petty’s “Free Falling.”

“The question is not will you fall down,” Sundquist said. “It is how fast will you get back up?”

Caroline Weihl is a senior at The Ohio State University studying agricultural communications. Originally raised on a beef and grain farm in Bowling Green, Ohio, she is an alumna of Otsego FFA Chapter, a 2010 National FFA Band participant and 2011-12 state FFA officer. Find Caroline’s social media sites at about.me/CarolineWeihl.

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