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Joshua Casteel (In Memory) bio picture

  • "If I am bound to the belief that God is in control of the cosmos, and miracles can and do happen, then there is no 'hypothetical situation' wherein God's ability to perform miracles through the faithful actions of the merciful ceases to be a possibility."

    Joshua's above words continue to resonate with us, his family, friends and acquaintances seeking to live out that same belief. Though he is no longer with us bodily, we strive to faithfully remember and testify to Joshua's witness among us, through the establishment of The Joshua Casteel Foundation and other initiatives on which we will continue to provide update through this website. Thank you for joining us.

    "The just man, though he die early, shall be at rest." (Wisdom 4:7)

    Joshua was diagnosed in early November 2011 with stage IV lung cancer (adenocarcinoma), which ultimately took his life on August 25, 2012 at the age of 32. The many of us who survive and love him will continue to pursue the heavenly justice to which Joshua (in life, and now in death) testified.

Update: Friday the 16th

Here I am, sitting in a dark room, computer on silence, listening to a cancer relaxation CD. I think its entirely possible it is putting me to sleep faster than it is Joshua! Oh the joys of being a mother…constantly sleep deprived, as many of you know and are experiencing also.  Okay, back to the issue at hand, Josh ended his second full week of radiation today. Only two days left of his 14 day treatment course, and on Tuesday he will walk out and ring the bell by the waiting room so that everyone waiting for their radiation can cheer and give him a round of applause. =) Its a fun little tradition to celebrate the end of treatment!

Overall, Josh is doing really well. He is up, juicing his own juice mixtures and taking care of all his own personal care. His Dr. clarified for him that although he does have one vertebrae on the verge of collapse, he is not in any risk of instigating the collapse just by basic stretching or movement. Josh would have to fall very hard or lift something heavy. Consequently, he is more relaxed and not moving so tentatively now. And he’s able to do some light stretching to help with muscle soreness and pain. The bed he sleeps in is awesome and I tell him all the time I wish I could take it home with me. It is movable like a hospital bed, but comfortable…super comfortable. It is a bed my mom and dad used to use for my mom’s fibromyalgia and acid reflux. They set up his ”bedroom” in a great location, a room right by the front door. He has a bathroom right next to his room and the kitchen also right by him. So, easy access. He still doesn’t go out except for radiation and Dr. appointments because he tires very quickly. Over the past week he’s been dealing with more persistent nausea, but we’re hoping a new med change is positively affecting that.

Visits are still a little tricky, as some days he feels good and can handle a visit, other days he just doesn’t have it in him to interact and is requiring more rest. Please know that Josh SO appreciates all the love and care, and if you are hoping for a visit we just ask people to be flexible if we need to reschedule last minute, and maybe to call right before coming so if he’s sleeping we can begin waking him up. Try to keep visits short (maybe 20-30 minutes). At this point though, written letters are still a wonderful way to express your love and concern for Josh. He needs to continue hearing that people care and written letters not only allow him to read when he has more strength, but to re-read when he needs a reminder of hope. Feel free to do that by snail mail or email and we’ll make sure Josh gets it!

I have to set my update aside and pick it up tonight…sorry its only a partial!


December 18, 2011 - 2:52 AM

Nora Clair - Praying for you all the time Joshua! Lots of love from Princeton.


December 20, 2011 - 6:43 PM

Jeffrey J Weiss - Joshua

We are praying for you here at the Catholic Peace Ministry in Des Moines, Iowa. I survived nine months of chemotherapy and radiation in 2005 for 3rd stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. My brother, close your eyes and picture the old ‘pac-man’ game the medicine moving through your body and eating the C-cells….. Fade off to the music brother and let your body relax, we send all our love from Des Moines. We are with you.
Jeffrey J Weiss Director of CPM

The Big 3-2!

December 27th is Joshua’s 32nd birthday!! We thought one way that we could celebrate is to put together a book of pictures and wishes from his friends and family. So, if you’d like to participate here is what you can do:

1. Send me a picture of you and Josh! Most pictures are probably available digitally and you can just email them to me, but for those who have been friends with Josh since wayyyy back in the day and only have hard copies, if you don’t have a scanner you can send them to me and I will scan a digital copy. Preferential treatment will be given to any picture in which Josh is breakdancing, riding a dirt bike, wearing make up and/or a loincloth, attending a sit-in, or generally acting like Josh:-)

If you can, include approximately when and where the picture was taken and the names of the people in the picture.

Also make sure you include a birthday message!

2. If you don’t have any pictures, but still want to send along a birthday message, just email me your message and I will make sure that it gets included in the book!

My email address is rebekahnd AT Just email me for my physical address if you have a hard copy to send.

I’d like to have the book ready for him actually on the 27th, so please email me your picture/message on or before December 22nd.

Thank you in advance for helping make Josh’s birthday so special this year!!  – Rebekah Latchis (Josh’s sister)

(the picture above is of Josh rapping at my wedding )

December 20, 2011 - 2:12 AM

Chad Nicholson - Digging through the archives for my best Joshua pictures. We’ll get something to you soon, Rebekah! Thanks for putting this together.

December 27, 2011 - 2:07 PM

Dana M. - I don’t have any pics but I wanted to say how thoughtful Josh and his family are (were) so many years ago. I worked with a young man, Greg, who became homeless after leaving a facility for troubled youth. Josh went to school with Greg and invited him to share his bedroom until the end of the school year. I visited both Greg and Josh in the Casteel home and they truly showed me what it was like to live Matthew 25. During Rick’s illness, Josh took over running the bookkeeping and helped tie up his parent’s finances. What a guy!!

Happy birthday Josh!!

A Financial Appeal

Hello friends,

In the midst of what will surely be additional updates on Joshua’s condition, we wanted to mention the following. The Casteel Family’s financial burdens have significantly increased since Joshua’s diagnosis. As friends of Joshua and his family we are asking those who feel led to consider making a financial gift to help cover their bills so they can focus on caring for Joshua. By way of rough example, $25 contributes to the fresh organic produce necessary to help Joshua keep a healthy juice diet; $100 covers a hotel room for Joshua’s weekly visits to Chicago to teach his class at Columbia College. A donation in any amount would help defray the mounting medical bills not covered by insurance.

Many of you are already contributing with your time and prayers, and we are all beyond grateful. This site is also equipped with a link to sign up to bring a meal, along with a Google Group link where you can sign up to receive emails detailing specific ways to help dispatch other concerns. But especially for those loved-ones who are not physically present, this site is equipped with a link to make a donation using PayPal if you’d like to join with us in giving financially.

Donations can also be mailed directly to Kristi at:

Casteel Family
285 34th Street SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

Thank you so much for your support in any and all forms. It is a joy to be a part of such a loving group of people.


Joseph Clair and Chad Nicholson

If you would like to join the mailing list Joshua’s family uses to request help on errands, and other practical services, please click on the “GoogleGroups” link above.  You will be prompted to send an email requesting to be added to the mailing list.


*** A quick word of update (December 29, 2011) ***

The Casteels have received much tangible love and support from you all in the last few weeks, and for that we are extremely grateful. The needs remain great, but it has been so encouraging to see such sacrificial giving from so many of you. Thank you so much for your generosity!

In response to some questions we have received: All of the donated funds are deposited into a separate account bearing a tax ID for the Joshua Casteel Benefit Account. However, it is impossible to register that entity as a tax-exempt organization, meaning donations are not tax-deductible to the party donating. They are still received by the Casteels as a tax-free gift.

Thank you again!

Joseph and Chad

February 27, 2012 - 5:35 PM

Jeffrey J Weiss of Catholic Peace Ministry - God Bless the Casteel family we are waiting for some positive results of the PET Scan and we are part of ‘Team Joshua’

God Bless all of you and so glad Joshua is in the classroom and we look forward to seeing you soon

March 14, 2012 - 11:17 PM

Julianne - Is there any way that the worship event on the 24th could be videotaped and shared with Joshua’s adoring public? love, Julianne

April 2, 2012 - 11:07 AM

Jeffrey J Weiss - Joshua your words on Saturday night oriented my return back in time for 3rd stage Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and a year on a spiritual journey – Thank you for that gift — We are brothers and — Your students are blessed with your person and I’ll forge ahead with mine here in IA — No goodbyes — Jeffrey

April 10, 2012 - 7:22 AM

Helen Schwietert - Let me know if you want me to go to WHole FOods for you when in Chicago. i am going May 12 for a few days.

May 11, 2012 - 9:31 AM

Erika Latchis - Joshua, Kristi and all Casteels,

Thinking of you with love and prayers, especially today,

Erika and Ken

June 13, 2012 - 2:10 PM

Madeleine Wells Goldburt - Ahlan wa Sahlan ya Josh!

I recently looked you up on Facebook and found out about your condition. I wanted to wish you the best of luck with your new regimen and tell you about an exciting place that I believe can help many of us. I’m currently at the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach Florida for a long-standing health condition. The program is excellent and works on multiple levels – nutritional, spiritual, and physical. I hope you’ll check it out. Please let me know if you or your family have any questions!

I wish you lots of love and blessings in your healing process,

Madeleine (from Middlebury) مادلين

August 20, 2012 - 1:17 PM

Catholic Peace Fellowship - Continued prayers for you and your family Joshua.

In Christ’s Peace,
Shawn and all with the Catholic Peace Fellowship

August 22, 2012 - 9:32 AM

Eli - Blessings and Love Joshua. WE are praying for you.