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Board of Directors:
Tara Martin, President
When I first texted Ashley Spradlin to see “how the team was doing?” and she shared the news that they were on the way to Emory in Atlanta for Josh. I thought to myself “are they sure?” He’s so young!…. all of the selfish thoughts you have when your friends and family are sick. BUT then my next set of thoughts was I don’t think cancer knows who it is dealing with because Josh Spradlin is one of the most tenacious stubborn people I know and will ever know!! I have spent countless hours discussing/arguing everything from video games, tv shows, movies and most importantly politics with Josh. Josh proved his tenacity once again with his inspirational attitude through all of this. These are his words from their wedding story website:
“Funny thing is, in a round about way, Leukemia has fixed many things in my life. It has taught me to look forward to each and every day with a much larger positive outlook on life…. a life that I can’t wait to spend with my Bride to be!”
This quote stood out to me because it illustrated perfectly Josh’s relentless positive attitude (I thought to myself there it is) but also his undeniable love for Ashley. This is what I know about Joshua Spradlin. He lived life for the great moments and memories it was evident in every friendship. Whether we were going out on the town or simply grilling out as his house you always knew you were in the right place. That it didn’t really matter what everyone else was doing because you know you were going to have as much fun as you could hope for that night. I can say that I have gotten to know so many people over the years because of Josh and Ashley. I will miss Ashley and Josh’s banter back and forth or the pranks that would go on with his boys. But I will miss his big heart the most! Josh opened his home and his heart to so many. We are all better people for knowing him. Josh you will always be loved and missed!!
Mary Jimenez, Treasurer
When Josh was first diagnosed with ALL as a family we decided that he would not be alone. We would take turns staying with him at the hospital. When Josh and Ashley had to move to Atlanta to be close to the hospital I would spend a couple of days at a time with him so Ashley could return home to take care of things. I am so grateful for the mother and son time we had. Josh was always talking about ways he was going to help other cancer patients and their families during treatment. His words were “everyone is raising money for a cure I want to help now, to take some of the stress off the patient and family members”. We would be at Emory waiting for a Doctor’s appointment or a transfusion and he would go on about what he wanted his nonprofit to do. Josh was going to be medically discharged from the Air Force and his plan was to work full time on “Strength Ahead”. Josh was an amazing individual, even though he was battling leukemia himself he kept his faith and continuously thought of others. I am so proud to be his mother and to make his dreams a reality with Strength Ahead.
Juan Jimenez, Secretary
Putting my thoughts to paper has always been relatively easy for me, this being a case where I am heavy-hearted and at a loss for the right words. As Josh’s stepfather, it pains me to no end that our days will never be quite the same. Josh’s physical absence will always have our family at a loss. Our consolation is that we have so many fond memories that our good-hearted son created for us.
He had me puzzled for years on why he appeared to always have an entourage of friends around him. I know now! I know now! I’ve come to recognize that the circle of friends continue to be “thicker than water” and that they have been inspirational in realizing this effort. Any man would be proud to call this altruistic young man a son; I am elated to be part of the vision geared at shifting cancer patients and their family’s experiences in a positive direction.
Thanks to Josh’s vision and the support of friends and family, Josh’s “Strength Ahead” vision will be able to affect change in a positive light for those dealing with the trials of cancer.
Kristy Harris, Legal Advisor
Ashley Spradlin, Social Media Director
I met Josh in 2004 and knew there was something very special about him. Once we began dating, I realzied just what kind of person he was…he loved big, had a heart of gold, and an infectious personality that drew people in. He’d do anything he could to help someone out, friend or stranger. When he was diagnosed he immediately began thinking how he could help others going through the same thing. His vision for Strength Ahead came about during his first month long hospital stay. When Josh passed away, I knew this was something I had to help bring to life as it was what he truly wanted. I loved Josh with all that I had and was grateful for the 11 years we were able to spend side by side.
I will forever love Josh as he taught me how to love, how to accept being loved, how to forgive, how to be compassionate towards others, how to be patient, how to trust God 100%, how to be thankful for the littlest things, and how to live in the moment.
I will forever keep his memory and his vision alive by helping bring a smile to others going through the most difficult times in their life.
Angela Jesmer, Member At-Large
Laura Dees, Member At-Large
Brittany Hall Eaton, Member At-Large
Josh and I crossed paths many years ago, back then I had no clue that he would be my saving grace over and over. Josh was always there for me throughout our friendship, he was one of those guys that loved me through and through. There wasn’t a time I called that he didn’t answer, there wasn’t a time that he didn’t give me the best advice there was and there wasn’t a time that he didn’t support me. Josh was always a breath of fresh air, his smile always lit up a room and he was the best person, even on his worst days. Josh and I would later begin a different journey together as Josh was diagnosed 3 days after my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our second child. Fast forward to November 11, 2014 we would welcome a little boy to our family, Carter Layne Eaton, that day, our entire world was turned upside down. He was eventually diagnosed with GoldenHar Sydrome and would spend his first 3 months in a hospital room at CHOA in Atlanta. He fought everyday to be here, just like his Uncle Josh. Josh and I would talk on the good days and lift each other up on the bad days. Life was thrown at us together and although it was hard, he always told me Carter would move mountains one day. He will never get to meet his Uncle Josh, but I know that he is his angel and has been with him every step of the way. I thank God for the 15 years that I got to spend with Josh. Knowing him was one of my biggest blessings. I get the honor of calling his wife my best friend. She is also an amazing person and she has stood by me through some of the best and worst times in my life. She is my light at the end of the tunnel. I’m proud of who she is and what she is doing. Strength Ahead will always be a part of me and I am honored to represent Josh and Ashley in this wonderful organization that will help so many in their personal time of need.
Jonathan Alexander, Member At-Large