Class of 2019

Joshua Basile profile picture

Joshua Basile

Advocate, philanthropist, & lawyer

“As a high-level quadriplegic, mentoring to me means that I do not have to reinvent the wheel and that I’m not alone. Learning from others that speak your very own disability language — for me I call it ‘speaking spinal cord’ — empowers both the mind and body to believe that if someone else can do it, so can I. Mentoring creates a stronger community that is not isolated as individuals but rather united as a group to overcome obstacles and live actively. Before my injury, I did things 1 million ways and now I get to do things 1 million new ways. Mentors help show the paralysis community what is possible and providing options. In the end, it is a mentee’s choice on how to move forward.”

We are proud to induct Joshua Basile into the Susan Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.

Joshua Basile is a 34-year-old advocate, philanthropist, lawyer and quadriplegic. In 2004, Mr. Basile’s life was flipped upside down while on a family vacation in Delaware when a wave slammed him headfirst into the ocean floor rendering him paralyzed below the shoulders. He did not let his paralysis stop him from finding his voice and wheeling after his goals.

At the age of 19, Josh’s determination to help others motivated him to form the nonprofit Determined2Heal. Since 2005, he has dedicated his time and energy to simplify the difficult transition into life with paralysis. In 2007, he went on to create what is now the world’s largest paralysis video mentoring network with over 14,000 paralysis related videos. The goal of SPINALpedia is to make sure that members of the paralysis community never feel alone and can always learn from others in similar situations. The majority of all uploaded content is created by the paralysis community, for the paralysis community, and is searchable based on physical functionality and by descriptive categories. The SPINALpedia motto is “See it, Believe it, Do it – The Power of Experience!”

Determined2Heal also mentors families outside of the home, in the community, through therapeutic experiences – “Living with Adventurous Wheels” program. In 2019 Determined2Heal organized and sponsored 450 adventures for 150 paralyzed families. The therapeutic experiences can be quite adventurous, like waterskiing and indoor skydiving, or they can be simple, like bowling and miniature golf. All adventures are free of charge for families to ensure that participants can focus on making memories and smiles without worrying about the financial burden. The goal is to create experiences that empower participants to overcome future challenges and obstacles. It’s important that participants get outside of their comforts zone, embrace a willingness to try something new, and think creatively as they accomplish an activity.

While getting his nonprofit off the ground, Mr. Basile returned back to school and went on to graduate cum laude from the University of Maryland College Park and magna cum laude from law school. He is currently a trial attorney with the preeminent law firm of Jack H. Olender & Associates in Washington DC. The law firm fights for the injured with a concentration on medical malpractice and catastrophic injury cases.

In 2018, Mr. Basile called upon his legal and advocacy skills to pass a bill through the Maryland legislature to help working persons with significant disabilities maintain nursing services while employed. He is currently working with the governor of Maryland and his administration to remove current income, asset, age and spousal barriers limiting Maryland’s Medicaid buy-in program called Employed Individuals with Disabilities. He founded the Willing to Work campaign to tackle these barriers. The campaign also disseminates valuable disability focused vocational and employment related content, provides one-on-one job mentors, and matches disability employment benefits counselors. The goal is to get persons with significant disabilities to pursue employment opportunities without fear and most importantly with confidence.