Entrepreneur, inventor, advocate, mentor, these are just a few of the incredible roles Josh Basile has taken on since his catastrophic spinal cord injury in 2004, which left him paralyzed below the shoulders. Josh, who is a former client of The Coordinating Center is now a practicing medical malpractice attorney, who graduated law school Magna Cum Lade in 2013 from The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of with the help of technology, caregivers, family and friends.
Shortly after Josh’s injury, he founded the Determined2heal Foundation, Inc. which helps simplify the difficult transition into life with paralysis for families living with a spinal cord injury. “About 10 months after my injury I realized that I compiled thousands of pages of information and I wish I could’ve made it digestible for myself within the first weeks and months after my injury” says Josh. Recognizing the importance of mentors in a newly injured person’s life, Josh cofounded SPINALpedia.com, an online video mentoring website. Today, thousands of community members and videos are available 24/7. Each member and video have a unique set of physical functionality tags pairing relevant mentors and videos to those searching on the website.
Determined to continue to help others, Josh invented Slingshot Golf, a new sport which allows both able-bodied and golfers with disabilities to play together on a golf course. With his patented Pendulum Putting device, those with physical limitations can now putt a golf ball anywhere on a golf green or on a miniature golf course. Most recently, Josh has championed a smart phone app to the US Market called, fuelService, which pairs gas stations to pump gas to drivers with disabilities who need assistance. Initially developed in the U.K., fuelService is now available in the U.S., to over 5,000 gas stations across the country thanks to Josh.
Josh has a profound love for the outdoors. He enjoys adaptive sailing, indoor skydiving, skiing, being around Annapolis and the beautiful waters, and spending time with family. He says “It’s a great life when you get out there and experience the world around you. Too often our minds and what we focus on holds us back. Before my injury I did things 1 million ways, but after my injury I get to do things 1 million new ways and all of that can still be super meaningful. I’m a believer with a full dose of hope, a willingness to try and a little creativity, most anything is possible.”
Among the many organizations who have supported Josh over the years is The Coordinating Center. “The Coordinating Center was my guide and support on the ground to make sure that I didn’t have to do it alone. Especially when I was a teenager, having someone that knew how to navigate independent living and government supports really was crucial, and I learned how to be my own best advocate, while learning the rules as well so that I could have a say in what my care was like in the community and how to live independently. There’s nothing better than working with a team that is knowledgeable and that cares” Josh voiced.
Josh’s proudest moment is when he became a father in February 2022 to his first son, Calder. He loves spending quality time with his son, so much that he teamed up with John Hopkins students to create a baby wheelchair carrier that mounts to his chair. Now Josh can hold and physically interact with Calder without someone else having to hold him. Josh loves finding new ways of bringing independence, by using assistive technology to break down barriers. He explains “I’m dependent on technology, family, and caregivers, but I’m also independent through them. It takes a mindset where you’re not afraid to ask and receive help.”
A quote that Josh loves is “never, never, never give up!”. Josh says, “Often in the paralysis community, your body becomes physically paralyzed and during the early days it’s really tough to go from a fully independent lifestyle to a dependent one. I am living proof that nothing is impossible”.