Sunday, January 26, 2014
It is hard to believe that Justin has signed up his team Justin's Quest for now 5 years. It has gone by so fast yet life has been a blur and so hazy since he was diagnosed. I was trying to copy and paste Justin's hand written letter that he sent out to so many people for his first race. I will however provide you the text and if you can imagine it in the hand writing of a very scared little 12 year old boy who has a brain tumor. Mind you he wrote this letter about 2 weeks after he was diagnosed. The letter reads as follows: DEAR FRIENDS AND FAMILY, MY NAME IS JUSTIN FRIEDLANDER AND I WAS JUST DIAGNOSED WITH A BRAIN TUMOR ON MARCH 16TH 2009. I WAS VERY SAD AND SCARED AND COULD NOT UNDERSTAND WHY GOD GAVE ME THIS. MY MOMMY AND DADDY SAID THAT GOD CHOSE ME BECAUSE I AM VERY STRONG AND I CAN MAKE DIFFERENCE IN HELPING PEOPLE WITH BRAIN TUMORS. PLEASE HELP ME HELP OTHERS WITH A BRAIN TUMOR AND DONATE TO MY TEAM JUSTIN UNITED IN THE RACE FOR HOPE MAY 3, 2009. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SUPPORTING ME. LOVE, JUSTIN We are gearing up to raise money for this race and of course appreciate everyone's love and support. Again, we cannot express how proud we are of Justin. His brain tumor has had a positive influence on so many people and has defined in him in some fashion that one would see such love, courage and compassion that exudes from Justin. Justin we love you very much. Keep fighting the good fight not only for you but those others that have a brain tumor.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
Last Friday, I received a call from my dearest friend Jay, who has been so instrumental in Justin's Quest,that his good friend was just diagnosed with a pituitary brain tumor. Jay was frantic as he called me and explained the situation and asked for help. I was at work and I immediately stopped everything that I was doing so I could help Jay's friend. I have spoken with his friend several times before. I called Jay's friend and offered total support as his life was just turned upside down. I Know exactly what it is like to go through this horrific time and I just wanted to help his friend in any way I can. I helped him get a game plan of doctors and what to expect and give him direction because you feel so helpless. We believe that Justin was diagnosed with his brain tumor to help those in need with this terrible diagnosis. It is Justin and our family's calling. I told Justin that night about Jay's friend and he expressed tremendous concern about his prognosis. Justin wants so bad to help others and when he hears the sad news about someone being diagnosed with a brain tumor, he feels so bad and wants to help. The good news is that Jay's friend has things lined up and is on his way to getting more clarity about his situation. I am telling you this story because there are to many people that are alone in dealing with a horrific medical diagnosis. We as a community need to help everyone going through this because it is so lonely and incredibly scary. Yesterday, Justin came home from school with headaches and blurry vision. A parent may not think twice about this situation with their child but when your son has a inoperable brain tumor involving his optic nerves your heart sinks and we were sick to our stomachs. Justin was terrified and incredibly freaked out. We immediately called his neuro-opthmologist and he thankfully fit him in and saw Justin today. It seems that Justin may have migraines which is a good thing if totally confirmed. I felt so bad for Justin as I was driving him to the doctor this morning. He said dad " I am done with my brain tumor" " I want to say to the world that I HAD a brain tumor not HAVE a brain tumor" "it is so hard to live with this" I told him our mantra again " I have always been there for you and I will always take care of you and we will beat this and get through this as we have the best doctors in the world at Mass General". It has to be hard on anyone going through this but especially a child. He knows that this is his and our purpose to make a difference and we preach it and live it. Once again, I preach, love your family and appreciate everyhting you have because you never know when a family diaster may strike.
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Happy New Year 2014!
Justin and our family want to wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year. May 2014 be a great year for all. Justin had some exciting news on the soccer front. As mentioned in my last blog Justin and his team was going to play in the IMG Soccer Tournament which is one of the best and most competitive soccer tournaments in the world. They played 4 games and Justin got to play the whole second half of the last game. That was the only game they won which was 1-0 and Justin had the assist to the goal. I was on the phone with Audrey as she could not wait to call me with the great news and she was crying tears of joy. It had me choked up as Justin continues to defy all odds and persevere. I spoke with Justin about the game and he was so excited. He really felt great about himself. His team has such unbelievable players and coaches. He said to me "Dad I am not mad at the coaches for not playing me, I am mad at myself for not giving them a reason to play me". I was blown away by his comment. He has such a different perspective on life than most because of his diagnosis. He has a quote on his cell phone from Michael Jordan that stays on his home screen that basically says never give up in life. He is truly inspirational. The other day I was upset about something and he came to me and said "dad live life to the fullest". Again he blew me away with his wisdom and insight. As discussed in my previous blog his radiologist and now I found out his neuro-oncologist will be taking his case to their conference this month to discuss with some other brilliant colleagues. We are so lucky to have the people at Mass General on our team. We will have our Justins Quest team set up for the DC Race for Hope in May and Justin will be going to San Diego in the Fall to do an event called "Over the Edge" he will propel off a very tall building to raise money and awareness for brain tumors. Lastly and I must say we are beaming with joy, Justin made Honor Roll for the first time at his high school, Bullis. Thanks again for all your love and support!
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Justin and our family would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season. Justin just finished his first trimester at the Bullis School and he did fantastic. We are so proud of him. Justin is about to go to Tampa Florida with his soccer team the Baltimore Celtic to play in the IMG nations top soccer tournament against the U.S. National team and the English Premier youth club team Tottenham. This is so exciting for him and our family. Who would think after Justin's diagnosis of his brain tumor, he would be playing for one of the premier soccer clubs in the nation. We just came back from Boston visiting Mass General for testing and his MRI and received some news that Justin's brain tumor is having an effect on his optic nerve. This was very scary for him to hear and of course us but we are again blessed that that we will not treat as of yet. We still have to pinch ourselves as parents that we have a child with an inoperable brain tumor. It seems so unbelievable. We will monitor him very close and in fact one of Mass General's doctors is taking Justin's case for review at a leading conference among radiologists in the United States. We feel so fortunate to have such a great team at Mass General Hospital. The people are just so fantastic and treat us like family. Audrey had a meeting with Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure and Beth Anne Telford, who is a brain tumor survivor that has worked so tirelessly to find a cure, to come up with our next event to raise awareness and find a cure for this terrible disease. Justin and Beth Anne are scheduled to speak at a symposium of very influential people in February. Justin will get on this stage and tell his story about living with a brain tumor. I still cannot believe how strong he is and his tremendous will and desire to help others and find a cure for brain tumors. Thanks again for everyone's support.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUSTIN !!!!!!!
Wow, I cannot believe that Justin is 17 years old today. We feel so lucky and grateful that Justin is doing well and here to celebrate his 17th birthday. Time has gone by so fast. There is a day that does not go by where I thank my lucky stars that Justin is well and with us. It puts life in perspective. Justin is now in 11th grade at The Bullis school and he is doing great. he is a starter on the Varsity soccer team. Justin, we love you very much and we are so proud of you. Stay tuned for more events to come to raise awareness and help find a cure for brain tumors.
Monday, August 19, 2013
Summer is Almost Over
It has been a while since I have given everyone an update. Justin is doing well. He and his brothers have been at the beach quite a bit this Summer. Justin has joined a new soccer club called the Baltimore Celtic. They are one of the premier soccer clubs in the country. Justin has been training so hard to make this club and try and play in college. In fact the Baltimore Celtic soccer club is very interested in doing an event to raise money for Justin's Quest. It is hard to believe that he will be a junior in high school. It truly is a milestone when I look back at where he was when he was first diagnosed till now. We look at all the little things that Justin accomplishes since his diagnosis and marvel at them and feel blessed that he is here to achieve them. We do not take any of the regular mundane milestones for granted with Justin. Justin and our family are very excited that his younger brother Jacob will be attending the Bullis school together. Jacob will be a freshman. Jacob also plays for the Baltimore Celtic and we cannot wait to see the 2 of them play soccer together at Bullis. Last week I was reminded at how passionate Justin is about finding a cure for brain tumors. Joey, Justin's 12 year old brother and his friend decided to have a lemonade stand in our neighborhood. Justin summoned Jacob to go meet them with homemade signs about finding a cure for brain tumors and the Justin's Quest banner to set up at the stand with a table. The 4 boys raised $122 for Justin's Quest in 2 short hours. I find it amazing that people donated money and that the boys did this wonderful event spontaneously. We will be seeing a new eye specialist this week for Justin as part of his monitoring of his brain tumor. He does like going to the eye appointments as it is stressful for him. However, this new doctor has a dog that comes to work with him and I am hopeful that Justin will bond with the dog which should help make the visit less stressful for him. It is pro football season and that has Justin very excited. He loves football and cannot wait until the season starts. Lastly, I have been meaning to write this update and was geared up into writing it today because of a conversation I had with someone today. A wonderful and nice lady that cleans the office where I work saw me today and asked how was Justin doing. She said she prays for him daily because she lost her son and knows how terrible it is. Justin has touched so many people and it really makes us feel lucky for all the prayers people are doing for him. Thanks again for all of everyone's support and prayers and hopefully someday there will be a cure for brain tumors and all cancer.
Friday, May 17, 2013
DC RACE FOR HOPE A SUCCESS
May 5th was our 4th race where Justin's Quest had a team. It is so hard to believe that time has gone by so fast. The race was a success as it raised over $2.5 million. It is still hard for me to get my hands around the concept that I see my son wearing a yellow jersey denoting brain tumor survivor. Trust me, thank God he is a survivor as there are so many people who have lost loved ones who attend the race. I still cannot believe that he has an inoperable brain tumor. The weather was perfect for the race and we all were glad to be there in support of the cause. We want to thank everyone who donated to Justin's Quest and to those who came to the race. This certainly helps raise awareness and gets us closer to a cure. We now are on the 7 day count down to our next MRI and doctors' appointments at Mass General Hospital. Feelings are getting intense with anticipation in our house. We are of course very hopeful for a good visit. I will keep you posted and thanks to everyone for their continued love and support.