Digby’s Phil Harris named Dobro player of the year in Eastern Canada
DIGBY, N.S. – The dobro player of the year for Eastern Canada is right here in Digby.
Joshua Cochrane has been nominated to receive an award through the International Naturally Autistic Peoples Awards in Edinburgh, Scotland.
CARLA ALLEN PHOTO
Joshua Cochrane’s story is one of inspiration and hope for those coping with the challenges of Autism. He’d like to share his life and achievements with others while in Scotland this October at the World Autism Festival.
Before he’d reached the age of two, Joshua was diagnosed with Autism and Hypotonia (Low Muscle Tone). He spent his first year sleeping in a recliner chair to prevent his airways from collapsing. Physio work helped to build his muscle strength. Although he couldn’t talk, he could sing. A local dance instructor, Deanna McCarron began incorporating dance moves into his physio. He took his first steps in her dance class.
His singing talent continued to evolve. He won multiple awards in talent search contests and became a member of the Th’YARC’s Strolling Carolers. This year, at the age of eight, he has a lead role in Evangeline, opening July 22 at the Maurice LeBlanc theatre in Tusket.
Through the years he has battled multiple medical issues. This summer he was a feature story child for the IWK telethon and raised $3,100 or the hospital.
Now Joshua has been nominated to receive an award through the International Naturally Autistic Peoples Awards in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has been invited along with his sisters and mother (Ann Harrington) to travel to Scotland to receive the award and perform at the Oct. 1-6 convention and festival. There will be 19 countries represented by other nominees.
Joshua will be receiving an award in the Youth Performing Arts category and is in the top three amongst the 20 countries being represented.
In the information package he received for the festival, contact person Leonora Gregory-Collura commended Joshua.
“You are an inspiration to your country and to autistic people around the world!”
Harrington says the ‘Connected’ theme for the awards ceremony came from Joshua and a little boy from the UK who "connected" via Facebook.
“They became friends and this gave the organizers the idea for this years theme,” she said. Harrington is looking forward for the opportunity that Joshua has, to shine in Scotland.
“I believe that this is a big thing not only for him but because he can showcase ‘him,’ not just a boy who has overcome so many challenges in his short life and the challenges that he continues to face as being a child with Autism.... but he can showcase who "HE" really is ... a boy enjoying life. He can be recognized for his skills and talents instead of "the boy with Autism and illness," she said.
Joshua is fundraising for the trip via a GoFundMe page. Those wanting to contribute can click here.