Update: Alright guys, I have to head out to yoga now, but thanks for your awesome questions! This was fun! Please check out my youtube channel for new content from my every Tuesday. We should hang out sometime!

Hey Reddit!

I’m Josh Sundquist. I lost my left leg to cancer when I was 9 and grew up to be a ski racer at the 2006 Paralympics. Ask me anything! I’ll start answering questions around 10:30 am EST.


Also, a shout out to talaqen for my first reddit experience in this post

Comments: 653 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

MolzYeowie101237 karma

Ok awkward question... Was it awkward to lose your virginity? (I'm assuming you have)

joshsundquist352 karma

You're right about this question, majorly awkward turkey alert!

Being that my Mom is my most faithful stalker and there is a 100% chance she will read this (Hi Mom! I love you!) I am going to not answer this question, although I give you props for the fact that it is an interesting one, and reveals insight into the fact that people with disabilities do often have significant body image issues that can be difficult to overcome in romantic relationships.

GeekAndDestroy470 karma

You're right about this question, majorly awkward turkey alert!

Being that my Mom is...

I'm glad this sentence didn't go where I thought it was going.

joshsundquist323 karma

So am I!

scienara187 karma

Josh, welcome to Reddit & thanks for doing this!

I have a two year old who is in that phase of being very observant, inquisitive, and blunt. So my questions are:

How do you respond to children who may ask or say insensitive things when they see that you have one leg?

What advice would you offer parents who are discussing people with differing abilities to their kids?

joshsundquist184 karma

Great question. For the most part, parents get really freaked out when their kids stare at me or ask questions. They yell "I TOLD YOU NEVER TO STARE AT HANDICAPPED PEOPLE!" Occasionally there is some child abuse involved. It gets awkward, is what I am saying.

I think the important thing for kids (and adults, for that matter) to realize is that people with disabilities are just that: People. With disabilities. So I would want kids to know that yes, I do have one leg, but I can still walk and talk and eat food and laugh and cry and watch TV just like any other human being.

What kids (and again, people in general) need to know is that a disability is just one facet of a human being, similar to, say, skin color. You can't deny that it's a part of that person, but it's wrong to assume that it is the single most defining characteristic of who they are as a person.

SmithNumber6102 karma

Why are your eyes so pretty?

joshsundquist223 karma

Carrots. And genetics. But mostly the carrots.

EinsteinReplica85 karma

Is the foot fake too?

joshsundquist65 karma

Definitely not

peperony-and-chease76 karma

"I'm Josh Sundquist..."


"...Bestselling Author, Paralympian, Motivational Speaker, and YouTuber..."

Hm. Sorry, not ringing any bells.

"...I'm also the amputee in the leg lamp costume."

Ahh yeah! That guy!

joshsundquist58 karma

Eh, nice to be known for something.

scshor0774 karma

Where can we apply to be your new best friend? Serious question.

joshsundquist239 karma

Serious answer: I have a best friend. He's pretty cool. So I guess you could try to fight him or something.

[deleted]74 karma

Hey what's up, guy?

Any other notable costume choices before the infamous leg lamp one?

And because it may be asked... 100 3-legged duck-sized horses, or 1 1-legged horse-sized duck?

joshsundquist189 karma

Why yes, actually. In 2010 I dressed as a partially eaten gingerbread man: http://joshsundquist.com/photos_amputee_halloween.html

Well, thanks for creating a modified amputee version of this question for me. We amputees do like to stick together.

But given this choice, if I really did have to fight an amputee creature, I would obviously choose the 1-legged horse-sized duck, which could be EASILY defeated by my super pendulum kick. Here's that that looks like: http://blog.joshsundquist.com/post/10893961397

FrancescaDakin64 karma

Where is your favorite place in the world and what makes it special to you?

joshsundquist262 karma

My girlfriends arms.

One, two, three....awwwww.

bluedragonee57 karma

I'm sorry if this offends you, but whats's the best and worst thing about being an amputee?

joshsundquist147 karma

I've been asked some offensive questions, and this is not one of them. So fear not.

The best part of being an amputee is that I am memorable. People usually don't forget me after they meet me for the first time.

And that's also the worst part, too. People always remember me, and are more likely to remember my name because I look so different from a "normal" person. But I myself, like anyone else, often forget names. And then people get really offended that I forgot their name even though they remember mine, not realizing they remember mine (mostly) because of the fact that I'm missing my leg.

LascielCoin51 karma

First of all, thank you for doing this, you're great :)

Second, what's the biggest obstacle you have to deal with on a daily basis due to your disability? And why don't you wear a prosthetic leg?

joshsundquist123 karma

No YOU'RE great. And by "you" I mean both you and Reddit. Thanks to Reddit for making my leg lamp so popular this week.

The biggest obstacle I have to deal with on a daily basis are what I would term the physical side effects of having one leg: Since I use crutches, this tends to wear on my shoulders and wrists, and of course I have knee problems. And these will only get worse as I get older, unfortunately. (Jeez, this is a depressing paragraph).

I don't wear a leg anymore because I have vestigial nerve damage from my amputation that flared up a couple years ago that makes it impossibly painful to wear.

LionHorse38 karma

Do you ever take it easy on your body and use a wheelchair to rest up for a couple days?

joshsundquist111 karma

Nope. It's crutches all the way down.

hakuna_matata2346 karma

I dont really know much about you, but you seem like a cool guy. So whats one thing nobody knows about you?

joshsundquist126 karma

I don't talk about this much because it's a private (and, well, boring) thing, but I'm really into meditation. I sit on my floor and meditate for multiple hours most days. It's how I stay grounded (that was a pun). But seriously, it's how I battle the stress of my job as a speaker and YouTuber, which are very public, very stressful, very energy-demanding activities.

skierface44 karma

Do you still ski often? Not necessarily racing, but skiing for fun?

Would you consider writing another book? If so, what would you write about? Would it be fiction/nonfiction/etc?

joshsundquist60 karma

No, unfortunately my knee is really messed up, so I haven't skied for a while. I've had two operations on it, but nothing has gotten it back to skiing level so far. Which is, honestly, kind of depressing.

As for the book question: Not only would I consider it, not only do I hope for this to be a big part of the rest of my career, but watch for a big announcement on my YouTube channel next Tuesday!

skierface18 karma

Thanks for responding, Josh! :)

That is pretty unfortunate about your knee. Hopefully someday we'll get some sort of epic technology that will let you ski again!

Ahh, that's exciting, I'll definitely check out the video when you post it!!

Pxtl12 karma

It took all the willpower in my body not to ask "which knee?"

joshsundquist70 karma

The other one is probably not doing well by now either.

hoddie5438 karma

Hey Josh. I subbed to you for your Math Nerds videos. When will you be making more of those?

joshsundquist41 karma

Thanks for subscribing! And I will definitely be making more. I'm so glad you guys like them.

kism335 karma

So how did you find out that you dated your cousin? i never found a video with the full story.

joshsundquist52 karma

That's because there isn't one...yet.

vsky30 karma

I...I..don't understand this question....

boobscomefromrussia24 karma

Watch his videos on YouTube, he tells some pretty funny stories.

joshsundquist36 karma

Thanks! It's always nice to know I'm not just a crazy guy talking to a camera.

[deleted]33 karma

You have a damn sexy one leg.

joshsundquist19 karma


Antarmy129 karma

My sisters loved your book. I'm hoping to borrow it off of them once the other sister has done reading it soon. You are truly inspirational. Loved the halloween outfit that you did too.

What is the most memorable experience you've had with your fans?

joshsundquist76 karma

Thanks, glad the book has been so popular with your family!!

The most memorable experience I've had with my fans was probably when I was in London, and a guy assumed I had lost my leg in Iraq and told me I "deserved it" for serving in the Army. I was so angry. Just furious. But then I happened to run into a viewer on the street a few minutes later, and she was so excited to meet me, and all the anger just melted away.

I made a video about that experience actually if you want to hear the full story.

Mechanical_Monk14 karma

People like that don't deserve to breathe the same air as the rest of us... Good on you for not dropkicking him in the face! It's awesome there was a happy ending to the story :)

jcannon9818835 karma

Not to be that guy, but drop kicking him with only one leg would be kind of dificult.

joshsundquist103 karma

This is a fact. A super pendulum kick however, did cross my mind.

JuggleDomi28 karma

Have you ever tried to juggle?

joshsundquist93 karma

I have recently tried to juggling YouTubing, Motivational Speaking, writing, and having a girlfriend. Does that count?

browne9526 karma

Were you bullied when you were younger?

joshsundquist42 karma

Only once, actually. At Boy Scout camp. I made a video about it a few weeks ago, actually

TheCanadianSKS26 karma

I'm just going to say this... You're a champ.

joshsundquist22 karma


Coolmint20426 karma

How did it feel like on the first days of being an amputee? (If you remember)

budde_26 karma

And here's a working link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFfZ80ViyHc ;)

joshsundquist30 karma

Yikes! That is embarrassing. I fixed it for posterity.

poopeepoo25 karma

Josh, you're really inspirational! I know you used to be pretty sad but how did you find the motivation to become such an amazing and successful person?

joshsundquist96 karma

Well, gee thanks. You packed a lot of compliments into your question. LOL.

I guess I look at it like this: I have one leg. Which, I'm not going to lie, sucks. I make a lot of jokes about it, of course. But that's just my coping mechanism. It's how I deal.

But the amputation itself is going to be with me for the rest of my life, so to me, the most logical, rational thing I can do is try and make the best of my situation. Because as we say on the internet YOLO. So you might as well except what you cannot change. And work to make your life the best that it can be.

P.S. Did you see what I did there? Used the term "YOLO" in an appropriate way—not in a Ke$ha-esque, YOLO so let's get blackout drunk and do stupid dangerous stuff way?

curlythehipsta23 karma

Can you please tell us the story of how you dated your cousin?!?

joshsundquist42 karma

One of these days. I might. It's sort of embarrassing, you know...?

marie-claire18 karma

Hey Josh, How are you?

joshsundquist29 karma

Doing well. How about you?

RizzyMissy18 karma

I loved "Just don't fall" Thank you for sharing your experiences. You jave taught me a lot.

Are you planning on writing more books?

Btw, I love your "for math nerds" videos, please keep it up!

joshsundquist30 karma

There may or may not be a big announcement coming on my youtube channel this Tuesday. Maybe. Possibly. (Definitely.)

kacyg13 karma

I am going to take full advantage of this opportunity. Hey Josh, I am going to to put you in a tough spot; you could either tell us your exact home address or WHAT WAS THE BIG NEWS WAS THAT YOU MENTIONED A COUPLE VIDEO'S BACK?

joshsundquist17 karma

My home address? I'm flattered by your interest in stalking me, but I'll keep this info on the DL for now.

As for the BIG NEWS: It's coming to my YouTube channel ON TUESDAY!

TheSadNick12 karma

Is there any actions that people with two legs can do, which you miss doing? I know you can do incredibly much with just one leg, but is there a single thing you can't do?

joshsundquist21 karma

A lot of things. Dancing is the biggest one. I can break it down pretty hard on one leg, and I have certainly been known to shred a few carpets (in fact, that's how I met my girlfriend), but I do have limitations on the dance floor. I can't swing dance, for example, because I have to hold my crutches (not a dance partner) when taking steps.

I'd also like to be able to run a marathon. Now, technically I could run a marathon on crutches—I know a guy who did that—but it would probably cause permanent damage to my wrists.

And finally, I would like to be able to walk into a room crowded with children and not have them all stare at me. I don't mind it too much, generally, and it's not a big deal since I'm not around kids that often, but I imagine some day I will have children of my own, and I'll be in places (say, playgrounds) surrounded by kids, and it will be a little bit uncomfortable for my children to see so many of their peers staring at their father.

Jeez, this was a depressing post. But hey, it was honest.

SadlyOptimistic812 karma

Josh, I am proud to say I got to know your family especially your brother Luke. What a lot of people don't know that Josh has 3 younger siblings. His two younger brothers either went or are going to Harvard and a younger sister who has not graduated highschool yet but seems to be following in the same successful path. My question is, what values/practices did you parent instill in you and your siblings to make you so successful?

joshsundquist36 karma

Great question. And yes, both my brothers went to Harvard. One was student body President, a Fulbright scholar, and is presenting a paper for the Harvard Law Review next week.

If you've read my book, you probably know that we grew up in an incredibly strict (we weren't allow to say the words "gosh, darn, or "dude" or watch anything that wasn't G rated or listen to any music that didn't have the word "Jesus" in it) household. Now I am not recommending that sort of upbringing, necessarily, but I think that strict discipline we learned in homeschooling can have the (positive) side effect of creating highly productive children.

So the question is: Is production, achievement and the like the end all be all? That I don't know.

mowmylawn9 karma

If you had the opportunity to have a leg identical to your right one surgically attached for free with no physical therapy required, would you do it?

joshsundquist63 karma

So I would have two right legs? That seems like it would looks super strange. I could get a lot of weird looks. But certainly if I could have another leg, great, sure, I'd take it. Having one leg has given my some cool opportunities, but I would give them all up in a heartbeat for the chance to run with two legs again. I'm not one of those uber-inspirational people with disabilities who says "oh, having one leg is the best thing that ever happened to me I wouldn't trade it for the world."

hhsburg9 karma

Uh, small world. When i was in highschool at I tripped you b/c I though you were strutting through the hall as a freshman (you had long pants on). Weird I know. Never got the chance to say Sorry. Sounds like you're doing great - congrats!

joshsundquist6 karma

My leg grew back, so no worries.

the_lone_centurion8 karma

Josh, firstly, I have to say, you are an inspiration to all your fans of Team WSHOS! DFTBA!

You are a motivational speaker, my question to you, Is there a specific age group you enjoy speaking to the most? Why is that age group your favorite to motivate?

KaneFails8 karma

Been hit by any cars recently? ;)

joshsundquist18 karma

Only the one luckily. I'll be sure to let you know if there are more.

Night_Gaunts7 karma

How did you get in to vlogging?

joshsundquist26 karma

It started mostly as a way to rant about my dating problems. And then my vlogs got popular, and the girls starting seeing videos about themselves, so I had to broaden my scope of topics. But really it's just an outlet for creative expression for me.

dftba2115 karma

will you come speak near Harrisonburg, Va?

joshsundquist2 karma

As soon as someone books me near Harrisonburg, Va.

gregce3 karma


Very awkward question/comment - I'm pretty sure we live in the same building as I've seen you multiple times get into your car but had no idea who you were. Strangely enough, I've always thought about you driving with one leg - I assume its an automatic?

For verification I have the Silver Nissan Maxima on G4 a few spaces down from yours.

joshsundquist7 karma

Earlier today on this AMA, someone asked for me address. Which was weird. I assume that wasn't you. At any rate, for both of our sake's let's keep the address on the DL, shall we?

In answer to your question, yes affirmative, I drive at automatic and I do park on G4. I've never driven clutch but I'm told that it requires two legs. So unless I wanted to drive in first gear all the time (which would be awesome, if you rate awesomeness on loud, obnoxious, slow driving), I will need to stick to automatic transmission.

UPDATE: Weirdly, this user and I bumped into each other in the parking lot soon after he posted this question. Small world. Or, rather, small parking lot.

Louiecornbot2 karma

Why did you go to Youtube?

joshsundquist2 karma

Seemed easier than getting a TV show. But really, it is my place for creative expression. Plus the community is awesome.

psykomet2 karma

Are you of Swedish or otherwise Scandinavian descent?

joshsundquist6 karma

Indeed my ancestors were. Good catch.

ctusk4232 karma

What was it like at 9 years of age knowing what you were about to go through? And how was it growing up with something so serious at such an innocent time in your life.

joshsundquist3 karma

The difference I think is that at that age you don't have quite the existential crisis that an adult would---the sort of "WHY ME GOD!?" questions that adults do. And in that sense it might be a bit easier for a child than an adult who is faced with cancer.

Growing up after I beat the cancer, it definitely made me aware of my mortality, and extremely eager to maximize my time on earth. There is a good side of this, but also a dangerous one, a side where ambition can run out of control. I wrote a lot about that in my book.

At the end of the day, being a survivor of cancer means finding a balance between appreciating the second chance you've been given in life while simultaneously living up to the promise of fulfilling your potential with whatever days you are lucky enough to have left. You want to be grateful, to stop and smell the roses, but you also want to be productive, to make your life count for something.

aledclar2 karma

Josh you are the coolest motivational speaker! Out of all of your Halloween costumes the gingerbread man is the best!

joshsundquist2 karma

Thanks! It was also more comfortable than the lampshade.