Josh Collins wasn’t going to let a stomach bug stop him from giving cancer the boot Saturday in Walnut Grove.
The 32-year-old Langley resident spent part of the morning throwing up at home, the aftermath of what he figured was either a bug or something he ate the day before.
Undeterred, Josh wasn’t going to call in sick for a unique fundraiser held in his dad’s memory.
A former Arena Football League kicker, Josh suited up for the Birmingham Steeldogs, Cincinnati Jungle Cats, Everett Hawks, and Fresno Central Valley Coyotes over a five-year career, before a career-ending knee injury dashed his hopes of potentially playing for the Seattle Seahawks.
These days, Josh works full time while raising four children, but is still kicking field goals for a cause very close to his heart.
On Oct. 5, he set a goal of kicking 300 balls through the world’s largest inflatable uprights set up in the Walnut Grove Commerce Centre parking lot.
Proceeds from the event, in partnership with Body Smart Health, go to the Ron Collins Foundation, whose mission is to raise funds to cover families’ costs while battling cancer.
“I still feel weak,” Josh said, around noontime Saturday. “But the show must go on. I’m going to [kick] until my body shuts down.”
Josh has first hand experience with the struggles a family faces, both financially and emotionally, while fighting the disease.
His dad Ron was not a smoker but battled lung cancer, before losing his fight with the disease on April 8, 2009.
“It was devastating,” Josh said. “He was my biggest fan and one of my closest friends.”
During the ordeal, Josh’s mom had to work full time while taking care of his dad, and it took a huge toll on her.
“We searched all across North America for help,” Josh said. “There’s not much out there. Kicking Cancer and the Ron Collins Foundation are going to change this.”
According to Josh, the average family battling cancer ends up $50,000 in debt.
Josh has become a crusader in helping families cope with the financial struggles that come with fighting cancer.
And he’s not alone.
During the fundraiser the father of four had his family on hand to cheer him on including his wife Sarah and children Braedon, nine, Cali, three, Maysa, two, and Mikaiah, three weeks.
In fact, Cali bravely volunteered as the holder.
This isn’t the first time Josh has used his kicking talents for the foundation.
Over a 48-hour span in August 2012, Josh kicked 1,955 field goals from the 35 yard line, for a total of 68,425 yards.
“That’s the equivalent of running six-and-a-half marathons,” he noted.
This year, he hopes to set a Guiness World Record by kicking 4,000 field goals in front of over 1,000,000 people across six Canadian cities to help families in their fight against cancer.
His effort started in June and wraps up this month.
To donate online or to check out Josh’s kicking schedule this month, visit http://www.kickingcancer.ca/
You can also find the foundation on Facebook at facebook.com/kickingcancer.ca.
@ Copyright 2013