Real Life ‘This Is Us’ Story Behind American Ninja Warrior Competitor

Future American Ninja Warrior? Maybe. Adoptive dad? Yes.

Ashley Foster August 07, 2017
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Tonight on American Ninja Warrior, Josh Butler competes in the Daytona City Finals. Josh is a Nashville bus driver for a non-profit organization that works to benefit inner-city children. He and his wife have been through a real-life This Is Us story of their own.

Their son, Josh Dewey Butler VI, was born in May of 2015 with a genetic disorder that their doctor had never seen. His birth defects caused a terrible strain on his tiny body, and Josh and Katie spent 132 days at the hospital by his side while he fought. Eventually, their precious son succumbed to his illness. They were left broken and searching for purpose. “We knew God was preparing us for something,” said Katie.

The Butlers had always wanted children, so because Dewey’s condition was genetic, the couple decided to consider other options, such as adoption. They discussed their options openly with the nursing staff at the hospital.

About two months after the worst day of their lives, they were able to receive a glimmer hope. One of the nurses called the Butlers and told them about a baby boy on the fifth floor that had a need for a loving family. Braxtel had many health issues, some the same as Dewey. Unlike their first son, Braxtel was expected to improve. His birth family had left him at the hospital because they were unable to provide him with adequate care.

The couple fell in love with the boy right away. They fostered and then adopted him. The couple communicates with him using sign language. Braxtel will be in Daytona cheering his dad on. Josh will be donating any prize money to Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

American Ninja Warrior airs tonight on NBC 8/7c. You can watch a preview of the airing by clicking here.

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Ashley Foster

Ashley Foster is a freelance writer. She is a wife and mother of two currently residing in Florida. She loves taking trips to the beach with her husband and sons. As an infant, she was placed with a couple in a closed adoption. Ashley was raised with two sisters who were also adopted. In 2016, she was reunited with her biological family. She advocates for adoptees' rights and DNA testing for those who are searching for family. Above all, she is thankful that she was given life. You can read her blog at

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