Brave 'Warrior' Josh (27) dies after courageous four year battle against rare brain tumour

A young Burnley man, who was named 'Warrior' because of his bravery and positive spirit, has died after a courageous four year battle against a rare type of brain tumour.

Josh Heron's valiant battle against a rare brain tumour earned him the name "Warrior"
Josh Heron's valiant battle against a rare brain tumour earned him the name "Warrior"

Joshua Heron, who was 27, died at his home on New Year's Eve surrounded by family and friends who had been inspired by his bravery in fighting the terrible disease that he was diagnosed with in April, 2014.

Paying tribute to her son, Josh's devastated mum, Kim, said: "He never once questioned why it had happened to him, he was always positive and kept fighting it right until the end.

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"He fought it all the way with everything he had in him."

Josh enjoying his favourite sport and passion, skiing.

Josh was diagnosed with an Ependymoma, a rare type of brain tumour just months after he had emigrated from his home in Burnley to Canada with his mum, dad Brian and two sisters, Kirsty (24) and 19-year-old Holly.

Josh, who is a former pupil of St Joseph's RC Primary and St Theodore's RC High schools, underwent brain surgery and six weeks of stereotactic radiotherapy and two gamma knife surgeries.

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But sadly the original tumour spread to other areas of his brain, resulting in Josh eventually having four and possibly more tumours.

The family made the decision to move back to Burnley and Kimberley gave up her job to become her son's full-time carer.

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Josh with his sisters Kirsty and Holly when they were children

Kim said: "I knew that I would never have that time back again with Josh."

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When Josh was given the news in April last year that the disease was terminal, he made the decision with his family not to have chemotherapy.

Josh, who was a former pupil of St Joseph's RC Primary and St Theodore's RC High schools in Burnley, worked as a joiner and was also a trained ski instructor who was passionate about the sport.

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His positive spirit so inspired everyone that two of his cousins, Charlotte and Luke Simpson, staged a hike in August last year covering 12 hills and peaks in the Lake District and their efforts raised the incredible sum of £5,000.

Charlotte described Josh as the 'strongest and bravest person I know' and said his attitude and outlook on life, despite what had happened to him, amazed everyone.

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Charlotte and Luke were joined by friends Adam Wallwork and Amanda Kelly and the four carried a banner with the slogan 'Let your faith be bigger than your fear #hikeforjosh.'

And the money raised went towards alternative therapies for Josh and also a series of memorable family trips and holidays.

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Kim said: "I hired a cabin with a hot tub in the Lake District for a weekend and we were also able to take Josh to Wales to meet up with family and friends for a little break."

Kim added that the money left in the fund would be put towards funeral costs and a headstone for Josh.

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And she has paid a heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated to the fund, adding: "I am truly grateful to everyone who donated to the fund as without them none of that would have been possible for Josh.

"It means the world to us."

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Kim has also thanked the many caring friends who regularly visited Josh and took him for days out and spent many precious hours with him.

She said: "There are four very special friends who were so good to Josh, they were amazing in what they did for him and I cannot thank them enough."

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Josh's funeral will be held on Saturday at Inghamite Church in Wheatley Lane, Fence at 9.30am.

As a poignant tribute, a baseball bat that Josh made while at Camp America will be buried with him. It was signed by all the American friends he made while working there who will not be able to attend the funeral.

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Friends and family have also been invited to sign Josh's skis that his family will keep as a special reminder of him and the sport he loved so much.