Free Issue! Try Saltscapes Magazine before you buy. Download Now

by Darcy Rhyno

photography courtesy of wings4josh




Twelve-year-old Josh Cochrane of Yarmouth is a charity fundraising superstar. From the age of two, Josh has been singing to raise awareness and funds (estimated at over $300,000) for causes including organ donation, mental health, veterans with PTSD, local fire departments and the IWK Health Centre. He’s featured in a documentary called Connected: A Film About Autism, which is screening around the world. For a boy who’s been in and out of hospital much of his life, he’s very busy. He’s attended the World Autism Festival and Awards several times, including in Scotland where he sang Canada’s national anthem. Most recently, he travelled to Disney World when his wish was granted by the Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada. Saltscapes spoke with Josh about meeting Prince Harry, slowing down to appreciate life and being a raindrop in a puddle.


Why do you like singing so much?

You can connect with anyone, even if they don’t speak the same language. I like how it calms babies down when they’re sick and scared.


What was your favourite
singing gig?

The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. I was in the children’s choir. I like to honour the veterans for all they’ve done so I can live in a safe place. At the Tattoo, I feel the soldiers from all around the world together, and I can imagine the world is at peace for
that moment.


When did you start helping former Canadian soldiers with PTSD?

When my friend Sergeant Kirk Taylor died in Afghanistan. He always told me to be the best I can be and the world will fall into place. I’ve been helping people with PTSD ever since.


Tell me about one of your
favourite charities.

The IWK because they saved my life. I met a lot of my friends there. I sing in a band and we played at the IWK Telethon. The money raised that year went to buy a cardiopulmonary bypass machine. My friend Millie has open heart surgery a lot and they use that machine.


Which of your many awards is most important to you?

The Prince of Wales [2017 Youth Service] Award is extremely cool because it means the Prince of Wales knows how hard I’m trying to make the world a better place. I got to meet Prince Harry and also stand before 20,000 people cheering for the good I bring. It felt amazing. The [Nova Scotia] Human Rights Award is equally important because everyone deserves to know they’re loved and accepted for who they are.

What’s the best thing
about autism?

I see the world differently and appreciate the beauty the world gives us. I notice more details than some would. Noticing the details helps me slow down enough to appreciate life and what it has to offer.


What do you want the world to know about autism?

Austism is not who we are. Everyone with autism has an amazing ability. My friend from Turkey is non-verbal, but he can cook a five-course Turkish meal to perfection with no cookbook, no measuring tools. He works at a five-star resort at 17-years-old. He communicates through his cooking.


Is singing is your special gift?

Yeah, that and being kind. Doing good is like a raindrop in a puddle. You are the raindrop. When you do good for someone, you cause a ripple effect.


What was your positive
thing today?

At school I found someone’s phone and returned it to them.   



No captions for both

Other Stories You May Enjoy

In the Driver's Seat

Art fashions come and go, but a Cape Breton folk artist stays true to his own path.

For the Record

Remember the old caution, "There's many a slip 'twixt cup and lip"? As the owner of more than one stained shirt, I can attest to this. Tea and coffee work very well.
A young chipmunk surveying the lawn it is on.

Young and wild and...vulnerable

As feathered migrants begin to fill spring days with new songs, the warmer, wet nights prompt another nature event. Crawling stiffly out of hibernation, numerous species of frogs and salamanders as...