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Wish come true: Survive and flourish
Cancer survivor a college grad, law student
 
Published Sunday, July 21, 2013 6:24 pm
by Amanda Raymond

Joshua Finney graduated college in May with a degree in political science and a 3.9 grade point average. He has begun law school.
He is also a cancer survivor.

clientuploads/v38n45photos/pn_josh finney 07-18.jpg
PHOTO/CALVIN FERGUSON
Joshua Finney of Huntersville survived leukemia in high school to graduate North Mecklenburg High School and Elizabeth City State University. He’s enrolled at Charlotte School of Law.


Finney, who lives in Huntersville, was featured in the Feb. 12, 2009 edition of The Post when the Make A Wish Foundation paid for his trip to NBA All-Star Weekend in Phoenix, Ariz. With parents Reginald and Cheryl and sister Chelsea accompanying him, Finney met the All-Stars, including his hero Dwight Howard, and posed for photos with Michael Jordan and Chris Paul.


“That was fun. I got pictures hanging up from that weekend still in my room,” Finney, 22, said. “Sometimes when I’m getting ready, getting dressed in the morning or just watching TV I kind of look up and get flashbacks.”


A 2009 North Mecklenburg High School graduate, Finney was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007. Today, he is in remission.


“I’m actually done with all my chemotherapy and everything. So I haven’t had any kind of setbacks or treatments or chemo or anything for a little over three years,” he said.


Because of the cancer, Finney had to miss some of his high school career. He was home-schooled for a year and a half, missing part of his sophomore and all of his junior year. As a senior, Finney was discharged from the hospital the Saturday before graduation so he could walk across the stage, then checked back in on Monday.

Through it all, Finney learned humility and appreciation.


“It definitely made me a more humble person,” he said. “It taught me to appreciate every day, don’t take it for granted. Appreciate the people who do come into your life, whether good or bad, because everybody’s in your life to teach you some form of lesson.”


Finney had a big decision to make when it came to college. He had a year of chemotherapy to complete, and no one was sure he could handle the stress of chemo and classes at Elizabeth City State University. He could either take a year off to focus on chemo or go school and juggle treatments.


“I prayed a lot about it. Then me and my family came to the decision to enroll straight out of high school,” he said. “It worked out for the best and looking back I’m glad I made that decision.”


ECSU amazed Finney with the accommodations provided for his situation.


“Once I informed Elizabeth City of my decision to enroll and my background as far as chemotherapy, they were very acceptable and respectful of my situation,” he said. “They accommodated me to the best of their ability.”


Finney’s academics did not suffer.


“My first semester I got straight A’s. And my second semester, I think I was taking seven classes. I think I got five A’s and two B’s,” he said.


Finney’s academic achievement did not stop there. At ECSU, Finney made the dean’s and chancellor’s lists, earned the Academic Honors Award  in political science, Challenger Award, and landed an internship at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.


He also formed the first Relay for Life team at ECSU as a sophomore and joined Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity in 2012.


Finney is taking classes at Charlotte School of Law and working toward a degree to become a sports attorney.


“Josh’s perspective was different,” Reginald said when Joshua told him about his career choice. “His perspective was, ‘Well, dad, I don’t see a lot of God-fearing people representing celebrities in entertainment and in sports.’ I didn’t even look at it like that.”


Reginald said no matter where his son goes, he will  touch lives.


“God has blessed Josh with so much favor that he is going to be able to be an example to, not only students and children, but mankind in general,” he said.


In moving forward with his life, Finney has advice for those facing adversity.


“My advice would be just don’t get those doubts in your head,” he said. “You hear all these horror stories about people who get two months to live or things like that. Your experience is your experience. Don’t let it defeat you because it’s not a death sentence.”

Comments

Awesome story!
Posted on July 23, 2013
 
MY NIECE IS A BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR, HOWEVER, IT MOVED INTO HER SPINE. BUT I WANT TO SAY TO THIS GUY, I PRAY FOR YOU AND YOUR NEW FOUND SUCCESS. SHE WILL BE GOING BACK TO COLLEGE IN JANUARY, AND I PRAY THAT SHE LIVES LONG ENOUGH TO GRADUATE. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HEAR MORE, LET ME KNOW. SHE ALSO HAS A SEVENTEEN YEAR OLD DAUGHTER.
Posted on July 22, 2013
 

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