Josh Woodward wasn’t too concerned when he noticed what felt like a pulled a muscle in his arm in early February. He never could have guessed that pain would bring him to the brink of death.
Just days later, the 33-year-old firefighter from Albany, New York, was in the hospital fighting for his life. As it turns out, he’d unknowingly coughed strep bacteria directly into a cut on his shoulder. He developed sepsis, a life-threatening complication of an infection which can lead to organ failure and even death.
The infection quickly spread to Josh’s chest. He couldn’t breathe and had to be intubated. He suffered a heart attack and his kidneys were failing. Doctors gave him a five percent chance of survival. They also declared it a miracle when he beat the odds and pulled through, though he had to endure many surgeries and a hand amputation to get there. Josh lost all 10 of his toes as well, but he and his wife, Chelsea, are just happy he’s still here.
After everything he went through, Josh remained in good spirits. He was determined to work again as a firefighter, no matter the hurdles he’d have to jump. But first, he’d have to recover.
The father-of-two would need to use a wheelchair at home, so getting in and out of the house would be tough. That’s where the community came in with an amazing act of kindness.
“I’m at a loss for words. One day a friend of ours, Pat, asked us if Josh was going to need a ramp to get in the house. When I said ‘yes I’m going to work on that soon’ he told me he wanted to build it,” Chelsea wrote in an emotional Facebook post. She added that other friends offered to pitch in as well, and when a local Lowe’s store heard about the project, they donated all the necessary supplies, sent volunteers to help, and even brought donuts!
“Have you ever [seen] such humanity at work? Have you ever seen such kindness from strangers? I can’t believe I get a front row seat to all this beauty,” Chelsea said. “It’s impossible to not feel so grateful and taken care of despite all the trauma and stress. God is making his presence very well known in our lives right now.”
If Josh didn’t know his friends and neighbors cared before, he certainly does now! After everything life has thrown at this family, they’re humbled and so grateful for the overwhelming support they’ve received.
Check out the homecoming reception Josh’s fellow firefighters threw for him to celebrate his return home in the video below. Share to show your support for this brave survivor as he recovers.
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