‘American Ninja Warrior’ Contestant Has a Real-Life ‘This Is Us’ Story

Any fans of the NBC hit show “This Is Us” know how emotional it can be just to watch the heart-wrenching stories unfold on the show every week.

In the case of “American Ninja Warrior” contestant Josh Butler, he doesn’t need to watch it to feel those emotions. He’s lived through a “This is Us” plotline in real life.

Butler, a bus driver for the non-profit Preston Taylor Ministries in Nashville, and his wife, Katie, have endured the loss of a baby, followed by the decision to adopt a baby from the same hospital, a scenario strikingly similar to the pilot episode of “This Is Us.” The Butlers’ story was featured in Monday night’s episode of the obstacle course show “American Ninja Warrior” on NBC.

On “This Is Us,” Milo Ventimiglia’s character, Jack Pearson, and his wife, Rebecca, played by Mandy Moore, endure a baby dying during childbirth and then decide to adopt an infant Jack sees in the nursery at the same hospital who had been abandoned at a local fire station.

Courtesy of Josh Butler American Ninja Warrior competitor Josh Butler and his wife, Katie, lost their first son, Dewey (above), to a rare genetic disorder only 132 days after he was born.

“Honestly, once ‘This Is Us’ began, we heard the premise of the pilot and chose not to watch it. We lived it,” Josh Butler told TODAY. “We don’t want to watch it on the screen. But this past week, actually, Katie sat down to watch it, and she felt very deeply what the characters were experiencing.”

“There’s so much that’s personal to each parent’s story of loss that you can’t put on the screen – like the moment the doctors tell you that he didn’t make it. And the moments after they roll his bed back into his room for you to hold his lifeless body. And cleaning and dressing the body one last time, without being connected to all of the life support machines. And taking your child’s body in the car seat to the funeral home. There’s so much that TV can’t portray.”

In May 2015, Katie gave birth to Josh Dewey Butler IV, who was born with a rare genetic disorder that made it hard for him to breathe and to eat. Their son, whom they called Dewey, died at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, 132 days after he was born.

“There’s no other way to describe our time with Dewey – before he was born, during his life, and after he died – other than as spiritual warfare,” Josh said. “We had so many people praying for us, that God would heal Dewey and that God would encourage us to remain strong and fight for Dewey’s life.”

Article originally posted by Today.