Forever wandering: Josh’s legacy continues
JOSHUA Bede Allen was a passionate, talented young sportsman who loved his team, the Western Sydney Wanderers.
After a year-long battle with an inoperable tumour, the Southgate teenager passed away last year on his 16th birthday.
A year on, his parents Greg Allen and Julie Revis hope to raise awareness for more research into children's cancer, in an effort to stop other parents going through the same thing.
From an early age, Josh emerged as a budding actor, scoring roles in school plays and musicals as he went through Grafton Primary and Grafton High School.
He was a goalkeeper with the Westlawn Football Club, played cricket with Tucabia-Copmanhurst Club where he opened for batting and was chosen as an emerging Blues player. He also played hockey with the Barb's, futsal for the North Coast and rugby for his school.
On September 23, 2013 he was diagnosed with a brain stem tumour (DIPG).
Radiation, chemotherapy, and a trial treatment followed at Westmead Children's Hospital in Sydney, but unfortunately the aggressive tumours did not respond, and his parents' "beautiful, brave boy" was taken away, surrounded by his extended family.
Tomorrow marks a year since his death, and what would have been his 17th birthday.
Each day since has been a struggle for his parents, who see him every day of the week in photos, places he went, and familiar faces.
Whenever they get a chance, Greg and Julie watch the Western Sydney Wanderers play and as part of Josh's legacy forged a connection between the team and Ronald McDonald House. The Wanderers are now ambassadors for the charity, and give funds from one game each year to the cause.
The couple are also passionate about raising funds for research into childhood cancers, after meeting so many other families at Ronald McDonald House and the hospital in similar situations.
"You feel like you're one person up here but (at Westmead Hospital) you're one amongst others," Julie said.
"They just would be beautiful little Australians if they got a chance to grow up. To lose your child is just, there are no words."
Last weekend, the couple attended Australia's inaugural CureFest event in Sydney, which aims to give a unified voice to children with cancer.
Josh's story also appears on a short documentary called The Truth 365, made to inform the public of the critical need for funding for paediatric cancer research.
"We're trying to get it out there and let people know there's next to no funding for research into these cancers in children," Mr Allen said.
Tomorrow, Josh's family and friends will hold a dinner in Josh's memory from 6pm at the Crown Hotel.
His schoolmates at Grafton High School will also dress in green, Josh's favourite colour.
Mum Julie Revis said his family would love to see everyone who knew him, and those who had helped them through, at the dinner.
Josh is greatly missed by his closest siblings Elysha, Meridie and Todd, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephew Jayden, niece Cienna, and mates.
"We will never forget his cheeky smile and just wanting to be with his mates and family. Josh touched the hearts of all who came in contact with him in some way or another.
"We all miss Josh so much, shedding a tear every day because he is not here, but we are forever wandering with our beautiful boy."