Please click here to order your copy of Worth the Ride: My Journey with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. All proceeds go to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mission Accomplished


For those who have not heard, I finally finished writing my master's thesis in urban studies late last Friday night. While it is only a first draft and must go through several approvals until it is officially accepted by the university, I consider this to be a pretty momentous occasion, in light of the fact that six years ago, I had abandoned all hopes of earning my master's degree and withdrew from school. At that time, I was adjusting to life with a tracheostomy and a ventilator, along with the nursing care that accompanied it. In addition, I had begun taking a bunch of cardiac medications, which made me feel exhausted and unmotivated. In fact, I was so resigned to the fact that I would never earn my master's degree in the field that I love, I referred to my autobiography as "the thesis I never wrote."

Today, I am taking even more medications and battling fatigue -- and anxiety (caused by my cardiac scare over the summer). However, after my autobiography was published last year and I was still alive and kicking, I had decided to revisit completing my degree. Thankfully, the Department of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University welcomed me back with open arms and gave me the chance to do so. I also had many people motivating me, particularly my friends, Art and Emma, who each, in their own way, helped me to realize that finishing my degree would be a worthwhile endeavor.

In case you were wondering, my thesis is about housing accessibility for those with disabilities in Philadelphia. My research entailed interviewing several housing developers working in the city to find out their opinions on housing accessibility requirements under the law, as well as to learn about their attitudes toward and knowledge of people with disabilities. My hope is that by talking to these developers, advocates for those with disabilities will be better able to understand the development process and can bring about a better housing situation for people with disabilities in Philadelphia, more than a quarter of whom live in poverty and many of whom are aging.

I will post further news about my thesis as soon as I hear more about it, but I will most likely be graduating in January!

10 comments:

Jess said...

What an accomplishment Josh!!

I am sure that whomever reads your thesis will find it to be an enlightening experience. You are such an inspiration to so many. You continue to find ways to impact lives and make a difference. I absolutely love your drive and passion for life. I look forward to reading about your graduation!!

Much Love,

Jess

Jess said...

I am not as gifted as you in the writing department. It is difficult for me to translate my emotions into words, but I will give it my best shot. I want to let you know that I think that you are a brillant man. I have learned so much from you about how to live your life. You have given me courage and strength for my son Joshua. Being a mother has always been my greatest desire. You have given me valuable insight which has made me a better mother. Thank you for making me happy again. I now realize that there is so much that I can accomplish. Your autobiography was the catalyst I needed. I will always be greatful for all that you have done for me. Throughout my life you will always be someone that I will think of often and hold close to my heart.

Much Love,

Jess

ratler9782 said...

I am so proud of you, Josh! You are an inspiration to us all :)

--Simon--

Anita said...

Awesome! You continue to amaze me. Congratulations!!

Diane J Standiford said...

I am so proud of you. You inspire me. I would love to go after a degree, just so afraid SSDI would cut me off and I don't have much money. catch-22 You are amazing and I know your discussions with developers will affect them and make life easier for many. Ripple effect!

Jon said...

Congratulations! Now comes the polish and tying-up of loose ends, but the heavy lifting is over. Considering possible doctoral advisers yet?

Lori said...

Congrats Josh! you are an inspiration to all of us with young DMD boys to dream like we never thought we could!!! Because of you, I am cheering for the Phillies too!!! I am proud to know you and so proud of the thesis and ALL that you have and will continue to accomplish!
Lori Ware

Jon said...

The odds seem good that you are the first person with Duchenne muscular dystrophy to have earned a Masters. You are a trailblazer, Mr. Winheld.

Rebecca said...

Hey! It's me, your stalker! Haha!!! Yes, Jessica told me about this and of course I had to read more about you. Wow! You continue to amaze me and make me smile. Thank you for being you!

season said...

Your article is very good.I like it very much.
Once upon a time, there was a mouse father.He wanted to marry his daughter to the greatest person in the world.But, who was the greatest person in the world?Oh!
puma ferrari shoes
cheap nike shoesThe sun! He must be the greatest person in the world.The mouse father went to talk to the sun."Hello! Mr. Sun.
puma shoes
ferrari shoes
I know you are the greatest person in the world.Would you marry my daughter?""What? I'm not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the cloud.If he comes out, I’ll be covered."
nike shox nz
Ugg Boots
The mouse father went to talk to the cloud. “Hello! Mr. Cloud. I know you are the greatest person in the world. Would you marry my daughter?”
nike 360 air max
nike shox shoes
“What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the wind.If he comes out, I’ll be blown away.”
cheap puma shoes
puma drift cat
The mouse father went to talk to the wind. “Hello! Mr. Wind. I know you are the greatest person in the world.Would you marry my daughter?” “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is the wall. If he comes out, I’ll be stopped.”
cheap nike shox
nike air max 360
The mouse father went to talk to the wall. “Hello! Mr. Wall. I know you are the greatest person in the world. Would you marry my daughter?” “What? I’m not the greatest person in the world. The greatest person is YOU, the mouse.” “The greatest person in the world is … mouse?” “Yes, the greatest person in the world is mouse. See? If mouse comes out, I’ll be bit!”
nike air max
pumas shoes
The mouse father was very happy. He finally knew mouse was the greatest person in the world. He would marry his daughter to the handsome mouse next door.