Joshua Goodling: Terminal Cancer Survivor, Speaker, Author


At an animal sanctuary in Locust Grove, Georgia, a full grown bear, lion, and tiger, all live in the same enclosure, where they play together, eat together, and sleep together. Now, in the wild, a lion, tiger, and bear would not do anything together, in fact they would most likely kill each other and would certainly fight if they came in contact with each other. So, what's the difference? The difference is that this unlikely trio of friends have known each other since they were just baby animals. They grew up together, and were never taught to fight or kill or dislike each other. They were never taught the natural fear of each other that animals in the wild learn as they grow up. You might say their hearts were changed, and they learned to love each other rather than fear and hate each other.

We can learn a lot from those animals. We live in a world where the many young people are taught to look out only for themselves, get what they want, and to even hate those who are different than them. We live in a world where people demand their rights, even if it takes away other people's rights. A world where selfishness and pride run rampant, and are even praised, and a world where life is all about me, myself, and I.

The only solution is to change the heart. When we learn to focus more on others, when we learn to give more than we get, and when we learn that true happiness comes from loving others, we can end up like the lion, tiger, and bear - where we can get along with anyone, no matter their differences, because we've learned that when we put others first, we impact the world around us and our own lives as well!

Changing young hearts isn't always easy. And we have to remember that we get out of life what we put into it! Many schools and groups bring in speakers who just talk down at young people, or who have no experience themselves in putting others first and seeking to make a difference - and the young people can see right through them. You see, it takes a changed heart to impact other hearts! You can't just tell people to have to show them what change is! And nothing changes the heart like Jesus Christ can!


“I wanted to let you know that your speech was life changing. I'm sure you have heard that before but it is true. After the speech I was so emotional and started to cry because you were a fighter. You fought and won a battle. I wanted you to know that no matter what if people make fun of you because of the way you look or the way you talk that you are a true hero. That story about you saving the girl from suicide was wonderful! I have your pamphlet in my room and will read it whenever I am going through a tough situation and remember that you have conquered amazing things and I hope to follow in your footsteps. My mother also had cancer and is a survivor too! As soon as I got home I told my mom about you and how powerful you were. I hope to see you again! Thank you for speaking at my school. I enjoyed it very much! Thank you!“

A Middle School Student

“Your story amazed me, you are truly amazing. You have made me think really hard about my life. I have had some really bad troubles in my life, but after hearing yours I've realized that I'm the luckier one. Your seven secrets to happiness have made me a lot happier already! I just love how you are not afraid to be who you are, and your not afraid to tell your story. You are an amazing person and I will always remember the day I heard you.“

A High School Student

“I just want to let you know that your talk today moved every person in that room and changed their perspective. I was on the verge of suicide because of what has been said to me and about me and you changed my mind. You have completely changed my thoughts about what people say to me. I'm so glad you came today. Thank you!“

A High School Student

“I wanted to extend my sincerest gratitude for the work you do with our students. I work at Villa Rica High School, and several of my students work with the 12 for Life program at Southwire. You recently spoke to students at 12 for Life, and I am so glad you were able to come out. Since I am with the high school, I was unable to attend your seminar and in fact did not know you visited until one of my students came by today to talk to me. He said you have really changed his outlook on both school and life. I have noticed a positive change in his performance, and he credited much of that to your influence. He has been struggling this year and even considering dropping out, so it's great to see such a change in him. I cannot thank you enough!“

Teacher – High School

“I had the opportunity to hear Joshua speak at Mill Creek Middle School. His story is amazing, and his speech is inspirational. I would highly recommend him to anyone seeking a motivational speaker for 3rd - 12th grade students as well as adults. I think it would actually be difficult not to be personally touched by his presentation.“

School Counselor – Middle School

“Listening to Joshua was very incredible. He was very inspirational on how not to give up on life. It kind of hit me because my youngest aunt gave up on her life a year after my grandma died. She killed herself because her grieving was too much. I love how Joshua talked about not giving up, and wish she could have heard him!“

A High School Student