Joshua Ruff: a journey of transformation through faith, family and farming
In a world marred by adversity and challenges, it is the extraordinary individuals who rise above their circumstances that inspire us. Joshua Ruff is one of these remarkable individuals who defy the limits imposed on him by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a degenerative disease that progressively weakens his muscles
By Cassie Bird
Despite facing numerous hurdles, Joshua, sustained by his unwavering faith, the love and support from his family and his passion for gardening and farming, has not only transformed his own life but also inspired countless others.
Hitting rock bottom
Joshua’s journey took an unexpected turn when a life-threatening event brought him to the brink of death. Suffering from a cardiac arrest in 2020, Joshua’s health was put under a microscope. He was in a coma for three days and told by doctors that he may never breathe unassisted, speak or even eat again. Unable to move or talk, he suffered silently through many days and nights in hospital, and the future looked bleak. At his rawest moments, he didn’t know what his future would look like—if he was to even have one. Thankfully, however, he emerged from this ordeal with slow improvement each day.
As the days turned to weeks and as weeks turned to months, he began to develop a newfound perspective on life and an unyielding determination to make each day count. Through sheer resilience and a transformed mindset, he has since defied medical expectations, growing stronger in mind and body with each passing day.
Despite his need for a wheelchair, Joshua (who is currently 29), has refused to let his physical limitations define him. Instead, he is channelling his energy into becoming a public speaker. For those who know Joshua personally, they will know that he is incredibly introverted, therefore this goal has taken many by surprise. His powerful words however resonate with people from all walks of life, igniting a fire within their souls and empowering them to overcome their own challenges.
Public speaking was never a dream for Joshua; however; after his near-death experience, he feels compelled to not only tell his story but to provide an inspiring message to others about the power of positivity.
At the core of Joshua’s unwavering spirit is his deep-rooted faith. As a devout Catholic, he draws strength from his spiritual beliefs, and sees his journey as a testament to God’s grace. His faith has become a guiding force, enabling him to navigate the darkest moments of his life and emerge with renewed determination.
Joshua’s journey of growth and transformation would not have been possible without the unwavering support and love of his mum, stepdad and siblings. They have played an instrumental role in his life, standing by his side through the many challenges posed by DMD. Their unwavering presence has not only provided Joshua with a strong foundation but also empowered him to overcome obstacles, embrace his passions, and become the remarkable individual he is today.
Joshua’s passion lies in the world of gardening and sustainability. He has taken up the ambitious endeavour of establishing Henle Gardens, a lavender farm in Victoria, Australia. Despite the physical demands and logistical challenges, he has found purpose in nurturing the land and promoting environmentally conscious practices. His love for gardening, coupled with his desire to create a sustainable future, has become a driving force behind his ambitions. Gardening has always been an integral part of Joshua’s life. It is deeply rooted in his family heritage and has served as a powerful bond between the generations. Joshua cherished the time spent with his nana as they enjoyed spending time outside in the garden together. Henle Gardens itself was named after Joshua’s family in England, tying together his current ambitions with historical familial significance. It is a busy time for Joshua as he works towards many goals; yet having these big dreams is allowing him to live a vibrant and wholesome life.
Joshua’s story serves as a reminder that even in the face of unimaginable challenges, the human spirit can triumph, and one person’s journey can inspire countless others to find strength, purpose and hope in their own lives. It is Joshua’s hope that with the right love, care and support, we can all overcome life’s adversities and continue to work towards our own dreams in life.