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Downtown Toronto energized Joseph after lung cancer

Recovery takes longer than treatment, and is different for everyone.

Joseph Neale knows that. Diagnosed with lung cancer at age 20, he had to find a way to move beyond treatment to live a life worth loving.

Joseph sits in the middle of the frame, smiling. Lake Ontario is behind him.
Photo by Karine Chalifour

One of the most important tools for his recovery was downtown Toronto.

“The hustle and bustle of everyday people trying to progress in life kept me looking towards the future. I would travel down for work but also go to many events that kept me active.

Writing and reading near the water was and remains a love of mine. Looking far into the distance while listening to the crashing of waves always helps mask thoughts and allow me to think freely.

I played a lot of volleyball at Woodbine Beach and would often park up and look at the sky through my sunroof.

I’d do anything that would keep my mind off of pain and fear or thoughts that were negative surrounding cancer. A lot of positive and neutral reflection reduced my anxiety.

I had lung cancer and two thirds of my right lung removed and an additional scar on my neck I was easily reminded almost every time I breathed, that life was so short yet so amazing. Not wasting time has become my prerogative. Whatever helps you be in more control of your thinking will give you more control of your life. Elements that get that to happen in a positive way should be actioned.”

Visit to take part in a study aimed at changing what it means to recover from cancer as a young adult!

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