Josh McDermott: Public Speaker & Wheelchair User


When it comes to his disability, Josh McDermott believes in keeping an open dialogue.

“I feel that if I share my story with someone, that’s one less person who doesn’t understand my disability,” said Josh.

Born on April 7, 1991, Josh currently resides in New York. Growing up with his parents, Bob and Joanne, and his younger brother, Zach, Josh loved to play sports and was very athletic. When he was 8 years old, Josh was playing baseball when his parents and coach noticed he was running slower than the other children. Initially, thinking it a phase, no action was taken, but Josh continued to grow slower and become short of breath.

At age 10, a doctor performed a muscle biopsy on Josh and he was diagnosed with Becker Muscular Dystrophy. In 2009, Josh underwent a new blood test that showed he instead has Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy, which typically progresses more slowly.

Despite Josh’s diagnosis, he doesn’t let his condition get in the way of living his life. During high school, Josh took classes at a local community college and completed two years of criminal justice credits. Josh graduated from Wallkill Senior High School in Wallkill, New York, in 2010 and enrolled in community college.

With his Quantum® Edge 3 Power Wheelchair with 4.5 mph iLevel®, Josh lives a very active and independent lifestyle.

“The ability to drive my power wheelchair while elevated at iLevel has changed my life both physically and mentally,” said Josh.

In his role as a Quantum® consumer advocate, Josh does a lot of public speaking at events. He has served as a goodwill ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and participates in MDA Summer Camp to promote self-esteem and confidence in children with neuromuscular disease. Josh has also volunteered as a mentor at a youth center in Newburgh, New York, where he works one on one with at-risk teens to build positive life skills.

In his free time, Josh loves listening to music and traveling and roots for his home team, the New York Rangers.