Josh Barbone: Battling Cancer and High School

Breanna Huynh and Brooklyn Baggett
Feature Editor and Co-Editor in Chief

An inside look into the life and story of Josh Barbone, a resilient 14 year old with a positive and uplifting perspective on life and self-reliance.  

     One of the main mysteries of life surrounds death and the afterlife. Many people wonder and fear their death but not this kid, Josh Barbone, a freshman at Mission Viejo High School. 

     Despite going through traumatic experiences he states that, “A lot of people are scared of death, but I’m scared of pain before death because death seems relaxing. I’ve been under anesthesia and the feeling is great.”

     Born and raised in California, Josh is the oldest child in a family of five, having a younger sister named Scarlett and an older half sister named Missy. He has a cat named Balls, which of course is important to mention. 

     While he is the oldest child, one of the biggest influences and supporters in his life is his mom. Another person at the center of his support system is his neighbor, who he has known for almost his entire life. His favorite memory is with his neighbor, which was, as Josh gladly comments was, “something illegal.” 

     He then explains, “So me and my neighbor were bored on a Saturday and we went to my elementary school and Linda Vista and flipped around twenty five tables sideways because we thought it was funny, which it is.”

     Besides flipping tables, Josh can be seen receiving rounds of immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is, as he puts it, “the opposite of chemotherapy. Chemo attacks everything in your body and tries to kill everything and immunotherapy pumps up my immune system so none of my normal cells gets turned into cancerous cells.”

     “I don’t think it can shrink my cancer but it’s not what we’re looking for. The strongest chemotherapy can’t kill the cancer on its own. I need this transplant. Right now, I just need something to contain it,” he emphasizes.  

     Last year in September, Josh was diagnosed with a rare type of liver cancer for his age. Ever since then, he has dealt with the knowledge that his days might be numbered. 

     In April of this year, he learned he only had a year left and as of right now he now only has five months left to live if he doesn’t get a liver transplant. 

    “Once I get the transplant, I’m cancer free and will hopefully live a normal life.” Josh remarks. 

     One of his hopes in life is to become a pro-wrestler, going even as far as asking for a wrestling ring in his front yard as part of his wish for the Make a Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to fulfill the wishes of children who have critical illnesses.

     Apart from this, one of Josh’s biggest dreams is to travel to Greece in the future. The country is unique to him not only because of its beauty, but also because of its history and unique cuisine. He also would like to one day meet Shawn Michaels (HBK) and another professional wrestler named Kenny Omega. 

     While most would assume that someone would become more depressed and reclusive when dealing with a terminal illness, Josh’s mindset defies all stereotypes, even those of ordinary high school students. 

     “Before I was more like everyone else, more sad. But now, I’m more happy, bright and I’m more confident…and straightforward,” Josh explains. 

     His frame of mind and optimism despite everything that he struggles with daily is something that is truly heartening and should encourage us all to be more positive about our experiences and ourselves. 

     Based on the interview, it seems that there are high hopes for Josh’s future and hopefully there is something, even small, that we can all do to help.


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