Help UT PhD student Josh Hodge fight brain cancer!

For: Josh Hodge
Birmingham, AL
Organizer: Erica Spencer
Help UT PhD student Josh Hodge fight brain cancer! (Josh Hodge)
of $50,000 goal.
Raised by 254 donors
69% Complete

The Story

Josh is a loving husband and father to our sweet 22 month old Hazel. His diagnosis of Stage 4 Glioblastoma brain cancer comes on the heels of a complicated pregnancy, the loss of Hazel's twin sister, Harper, and Hazel's diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy.

Josh is recovering from surgery in Birmingham where they were able to remove the tumor successfully but unfortunately, there is a long battle ahead and significant ongoing medical expenses.

Treatment will take place in Birmingham, at UAB, while Josh continues to write his dissertation with UT Knoxville.

You have asked how you can help.  In addition to the calls, cards, pictures, thoughts and prayers we have set up this site. Your financial support will go straight to Josh's medical bills and recovery.

We love you all!!! 

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on October 22, 2017


Posted on October 22, 2017

Hi everyone,

It has been several weeks since we last updated this page. In that time I have been on a break from both radiation and chemotherapy, and we've had some awesome experiences. 

The Auburn Athletics department welcomed Erica and me, John and Allyson Martin, and Travis and Mindy Bernhardt to the Ole Miss football game several weeks ago. We arrived around 8:30am and visited the Athletics facility before walking through the Tiger Walk path just before the players arrived. Inside the stadium we stood at the end zone for an hour, took pictures, and wondered at the concrete frame that is Jordan-Hare Stadium. Gus Malzahn came over to speak and he is exceptionally tall in person. He and I had a nice talk, for sure, even though I was trying to give input to the game plan for the day. They served us lunch in the press-box area and we returned to the field for team warm-ups. They took pictures of us with the Eagle after his flight and they escorted us to decent seats. What a wonderful time. We are so thankful to the Auburn Athletics Department, Coach Gus Malzahn, and the Auburn family for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

Erica and I also took Hazel on her first trip to the Gulf of Mexico a week later. She had the greatest time. She didn't like the sand at first, but raved about the waves once she hit the water. It was a short few days, and we were happy to have a couple of my colleagues from UTK, but it did not last long enough. I guess it never does... and that's a good thing. 

Next Monday, October 30, 2017, I'll return to UAB to have an MRI and meet with both the neuro- and radiation-oncologists. Hopefully the scan will have positive news, but the main point is to establish a "base line" as my treatment moves forward. As of what I know now, I will take chemotherapy pills for roughly five days a month for the next year or so. Treatments thus far have been mild and I expect them to continue to be. We are certainly happy for that.   

Allow me to thank everyone for their support, financially and emotionally, as we continue down the cancer-treatment path. Though we have had an awesome month, there have been times of struggle for me and for Erica - and for us together. Luckily Hazel has seemed undisturbed by all of our movement and the quick pace of life these days. But her parents have continued to be immersed in those modes of depression, anger, gratitude, denial, and love -- in different ways and at different times -- as we continue to deal with life after diagnosis. It's not to say that it has been all bad. Our love for life and for one another has been forged by a hot fire, and we appreciate everyone who has offered us a place to stay, baby-sitting help, food, and love. All of it sustains us. All of it gives us hope and confidence in the future and in ourselves. 

As usual, please continue to share our story. It's a tragic tale, arguably, but one that continues to produce love and hope in ways that are too numerous to count. For us and for others. Please continue to contribute where you feel moved, and please keep paying it forward.  

With love and admiration for all of you,


Posted on September 14, 2017

Posted on September 14, 2017

Dear friends,

Josh here. Below is an update about my treatment, and other news...

I am currently in the final two weeks of my initial treatment with both chemo and radiation. The dosages of these have been low, which means the typical side effects of such therapy has been mild. We are very thankful for that. 

In the month of October, during my 28-day break, Erica and I have made many plans. Auburn University's Athletics Department heard our story and have offered that we come to a football game (Ole Miss at Auburn) as guests of Coach Gus Malzahn. It has been such a treat to even think about this trip and I'm sure that day will be amazing. 

We are also friends of another family who have invited us to stay at their beach condo over a weekend in October. It will be our first time taking young Hazel to the Gulf. We can't wait for her to play in the sand, eat fresh seafood, and experience a completely different landscape. I'm really hoping that this little two-year old's mind is blown at what will seem like a vast ocean across the horizon. 

Erica's birthday is today (Happy B'Day, honey!) and Hazel's is in ten days. Her grandmother is throwing a birthday party that is sure to be one for the ages. 

And speaking of Hazel's grandmother, my (Josh's) mom, was seen by a doctor over a week ago. After a few tests, the doctor informed her that she has a type of blood cancer: multiple myeloma. From what I've heard, it is incurable, but treatable - much like my own disease. Her treatment will be challenging, I'm sure, but we hope that she has many, many years ahead of her. She would certainly appreciate your love and prayers. 

To put it simply, our lives have continued to be confronted with not-so-good news. We are trying to adapt to our new surroundings here in Birmingham. We are constantly having to adapt. Perhaps what seems extreme or even "rare" in one's life is not an anomaly, but simply the way life goes in reality - at least for some. 

That word: rare. It's a word I've found to be better for describing a slab of meat's cook temperature rather than medical diagnoses. After all, it is not "rare" if you are the one with a supposedly infrequent condition. 

So, our story keeps changing and we are so humbled by the support that we have received. The letters, gifts, texts, notes, and visits have really lifted our spirits. 

Please share our story and I hope to have good news for you sooner than later. 

With love,


Posted on August 14, 2017

Posted on August 14, 2017

Hi everyone,

I have just learned that the radiation and chemotherapy treatments will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, August 15th. These will continue for 42 days (6 weeks), then I will have a 4 week break before beginning a new cycle of 5 days on chemo, 23 days off. More updates to come as treatment commences.    

Thanks, again, for all the love and support. Please continue to share our site and our story. 

One love,


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