MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the dream of any high school athlete to make it to state.
And as Josh Molden watched the triple jump from his wheelchair, he couldn’t help but think about how this was him, just last year.
So what was going through his head back then?
“I can jump further,” he said.
Josh is a captain on the Alexandria track and field team — and after going to state in the triple jump last season, he had high expectations for himself for this year — his senior year.
But that all changed the second week of school. On September 12th, he was diagnosed with leukemia.
“The doctors said it was a very curable kind of leukemia,” he said. “Quickly did we learn we’re not in the odds.”
Josh didn’t respond to treatment as expected, and after several months went by, he eventually had to have a bone marrow transplant, just 10 weeks ago in late March.
“And, that worked,” Josh said.
The news of its success finally came just last week, in the midst of a pretty tough week. He had to get a feeding tube, had 105-degree fevers and had to officially miss out on qualifying to make it back to state. He couldn’t be at the section meet because he was still in the hospital.
Still, his presence was felt.
Josh’s coaches arranged a unique honor. They entered him in the triple jump anyway. The meet official called his name when his turn came up, and in the 60 seconds of silence that followed, Josh had a moment leukemia couldn’t take away.
“Just nice to know that back home they’re still supporting me,” he said.
If anything, it made Josh more determined than ever. And when he finally got out of the hospital just three days ago, he knew right where he was headed.
“My doctor said I could go to graduation. And I said, what about the state track meet?” Josh said. “Ever since I kind of knew I wasn’t going to be able to run track this year, this was a goal — a big goal of mine — to be able to come here and watch.”
Leukemia wasn’t going to stop him. Josh made it to state. On Sunday, Josh will walk with his class, at graduation.