Contributing post by Mary Grace Joseph
Under a cloudy spring night sky on May 11, more than two hundred friends and family gathered for Josh’s Bear Claw Benefit, an evening to celebrate the Northwest Arkansas homecoming of Springdale native Josh Fohner and to raise funds for his continued care and medical needs.
A graduate of Har-Ber High School and the University of Arkansas, Josh sustained a traumatic brain injury in September 2016 in Buena Vista, Colorado, when a car hit him while he was on his bicycle. He was immediately life-flighted to Colorado Springs where he fought for his life and remained in a coma. After he stabilized, he was flown to a rehab center in San Antonio, where was able to emerge from his coma into a minimally conscious state where he remains currently. On May 1, Josh was air-ambulanced to Northwest Arkansas to live at home and continue his therapy here. His eyes are open and he can respond to certain commands, though he is not fully emerged into consciousness yet. He continues to make daily improvements in responsiveness and awareness.
Josh’s Bear Claw Benefit was named after the tattoo of a bear claw on Josh’s chest, a nod to his hero, Teddy Roosevelt. Through ticket sales, sponsorships and a silent auction, the benefit reached its goal of paying for home renovations to accommodate Josh’s wheelchair at the Fohner house, as well as a van for Josh’s transportation. Presenting Sponsors were Sassafrass Springs Vineyard and Winery, 412 West Band, MarketPlace Grill, Catering Unlimited, B Unlimited, Sam’s Club, The Jones Center, Brandon Eye Clinic and Sir Speedy.
“We are absolutely overwhelmed and so grateful that the community would come together to put this on for Josh and for our family. Our motto during this whole journey has been ‘All in for Josh’, and our family and friends and even strangers showed that they are truly All in for Josh, “ says Josh’s mom, Kelly Fohner. “It’s unbelievable.”
To follow Josh’s story or see ways to give, visit www.allinforjosh.org.