“I don't think I would be who I am without the trials and tribulations”
Josh Hui (Radio and Television – Television ’20) has no shortage of memories of sharing stages and spotlights with media personalities.
He once did the weather with CTV chief meteorologist Josh Classen (Radio and Television ’96). As a kid, Hui absconded with a microphone from Ken Reid, now a Sportsnet anchor, who was covering an LPGA tour, to try on the role for himself. For a summer, he shadowed Morley Scott, voice of the Edmonton Eskimos for 630 CHED.
But one gig that particularly stands out for the new grad is co-hosting the Snowflake Gala, a Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation fundraiser, with former CTV anchor Carrie Doll.
“I believe I was the first ‘Stollery Kid’ co-emcee in the history of that event,” says Hui, who got to see other Stollery Kids be part of it too, and enjoy it the way he once did. “It felt like things came full circle for me.”
Daryl McIntyre (Radio and Television Arts ’83), was supposed to be there, too, but was sick that night, leaving more space for Hui to fill. Perhaps Hui (“Daryl McIntyre-light,” he jokes) would have been an appropriate choice to start, anyway. Almost 20 years ago, his parents would have never imagined watching him thrive on that stage, as they instead looked down at their one-year-old son, lying in a bed at the Stollery, in the grips of potentially fatal liver disease.
To know any of this, Hui would have to tell you. He’s steadfastly positive, and has the beaming smile of someone who feels he has things to look forward to. He’s also very busy.
After completing his diploma this spring, Hui landed a summer job in one of the toughest labour markets in decades as a content producer for member of Parliament Kerry Diotte.
“I'm the one out there in the field with him,” says Hui. Using what he learned about videography, scripting, editing and more, he gathers footage of Diotte engaging with the constituents and organizations of Edmonton Griesbach (no handshakes, these days, but photo ops nonetheless).
“I especially feel fortunate to be working this summer, given all the challenges surrounding COVID-19,” says Hui.
He also feels fortunate, of course, because he’s healthy enough to work at all.
“Doctors have called me a unicorn because of how rare it is that I've done as well as I have.”
Hui was diagnosed within his first year of life with biliary atresia, a condition in which trapped bile damages the liver. Rather than transplant, doctors opted for a surgery to allow the bile to drain. It’s not a cure, and usually only delays the inevitable need for another liver.
For Hui, however, it has seemed to put that off indefinitely. “I would explain it as literally a miracle from God.”
“Doctors have called me a unicorn."
Still, he has struggled with various ailments brought on by the condition, and even missed half of Grade 12 due to hospital stays.
“Obviously, it was a very difficult and very challenging time,” says Hui. “But I think I also learned a lot during those times, and it gave me a sense of gratefulness as well.”
Jeanette Dube (Radio and Television ’97) saw that in Hui when she was his instructor. “He went through something so huge at such a young age and allowed that to shape his life in such a positive way,” she says. “It’s given him a spirit for living life to the fullest and achieving your dreams in a kind, genuine way.”
“As much as I would never want to re-experience those things,” says Hui, “I don't think I would be who I am without the trials and tribulations that I went through.”
Storyteller and community builder
Hui is still working on the “who” part, in a way. But he has a direction. All of those years of meeting media people at events for the Stollery instilled in him an early fascination for the industry.
“In my yearbook in Grade 6, I wrote that I wanted to be a broadcaster or a journalist.”
In sports, specifically. Now, that ambition has been benched in favour of using storytelling to explore human connections.
“He has such a huge heart for his community,” says Dube. “I think he recognizes the power of shared experiences, the power of opening up – [and] that’s in community building.”
Hui’s job with Diotte ends permanently with the summer. He says it has allowed him to build on the skills he learned at NAIT, and given him more confidence in using them. Dube might say it’s added to attributes no classroom can teach, like courage, kindness and authenticity.
“He has such a huge heart for his community.”
“Part of our future is determined by who we are on the inside,” she says. “It’s that extra skillset that’s going to take him really far in life.”
As to how far, Hui isn’t worried right now. Career-wise, he’s not sure where he’s going next. He’s focused on the current stage of his life, on appreciating it and seeing what good can come of it.
“I just want to find something that I can give back to others the way that people have given to me,” he says. “I don't know what that looks like, but that's what I'm looking for.”