Molly's Kids: Sept. 25- Josh Nork

Molly's Kids: Sept. 25- Josh Nork

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Love when a dad reaches out.

Bill Nork wrote about his son, Josh. Josh is a 18-year-old from Charlotte who just went off to Susquehanna University with a 4.0 GPA to play basketball.

Last year he was declared in remission of testicular cancer, the #1 cancer for men under the age of 39.

Surprising because you don't often hear about it. That's only because so many don't want to bring it up out of awkwardness.

But Josh says he's not embarrassed.

"That's real life," he says. "I didn't ask to get cancer. There's no reason to hide it."

His dad says Josh's attitude impresses him to the core.

"He's my son," Bill says. "But he's also my inspiration.

Josh's story is unique because this cancer diagnosis is not his first major struggle. Josh was born in Romania. Bill says he came to the States a week before his 4th birthday.

"After finally getting all the adoption paperwork figured out, Josh was d ropped off to us in the Atlanta airport with nothing but the clothes on his back, shoes two sizes too small and a lunch box with a few pictures of him as a younger child," Bill says. "He spoke no English and walked into a whole new world."

His dad says Josh showed tremendous determination and strength of character, with a work ethic that made him great at whatever he tried. He liked playing all major sports, but showed the most promise with basketball.

By junior year, Josh was being contacted by college coaches. As the year came to a close he came to his dad and said he was feeling tired, but admitted he didn't want to tell anyone for fear of messing up his playing season.

It went on. Exhaustion got worse. Doctors got involved. Eventually it was the end of the school year and tests showed a mass the size of a baseball.

Blood work confirmed testicular cancer.

Ten days later Josh was lying in the operating room having the mass removed. Doctors said there was a 50/50 chance they'd get it all, and ordered Josh to stay off his feet and rest for three weeks.

Three weeks to the day, Josh was invited to an Elite Invitation-only camp at Gardner-Webb University. He went, and walked away as "Player of the Camp"… but also dead tired.

A check-up showed his cancer ordeal wasn't over and he needed nine weeks of chemo.

Because of his size he was sent to Levine Cancer Institute -- the adult center – instead of Levine Children's Hospital. As the youngest person there, Josh walked around and encouraged other adults getting treatments. He sent out a positive tweet every day so those who weren't in the center but were fighting
could still get daily motivation.

All this while battling a cancer no one talks about. He went public in a time most people would shut their mouths and not say a word.

Day after he was declared cancer-free last year, Josh went to West Virginia to play hoops for a prep school coach who had believed in him and kept a spot open on the team while he battled.

In return, Josh trained hard. He played hard. He studied hard. And he dedicated time to help others being treated with cancer.

He talked with so many and was so open about his case, the West Virginia Governor invited him to the capital to honor him.

Josh's team also won the state championship that year.

"I just feel so lucky," he said. "I feel so, so lucky."

Tomorrow starts his fourth week at Susquehanna University. He's majoring in finance and says his goal is to open a basketball academy in Romania and in the United States for orphans and homeless youth.

"Josh always tells us, 'No matter how many difficulties you are presented with, it's overcoming those difficulties that make your story that much more inspiring and better'," Bill says. "I can't get over how many people my son motivates. Actually, I can. Because he motivates me."

Little real life inspiration for your Sunday morning.


(PS - Back in early August we featured Josh in a story on WBTV News at 11 p.m. To see Sarah-Blake Morgan WBTV's report click here.

*Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids in the month of September, children WBTV Anchor Molly Gr antham follows closely on her Facebook page. It was first published there – which is why it's written in a personal way. For years Molly has followed hundreds of kids with uphill medical battles. During Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, she features one a day. Thirty total. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here.

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