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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

President Obama Makes Justin's Dream Come True

Wow!!! I am so speechless that I cannot believe what just happened to our family. About 6 weeks ago I received a phone call on my cell with a very strange caller ID number. It was the call I was expecting, someone from the White House called to invite our family to meet President Obama. I was in shock even though I knew the call may be coming. I have to give an incredible thanks to Jay Rosenberg , Officer Edgado Cobian of the Montgomery County Police Department who was responsible for making the Police event happen at BCC High School and his associates and NBTS for making my son's dream come true. Ever since we started Justin's Quest, Justin's biggest goal was to shoot with President Obama. We thought this may happen but not this soon. Well here is the scoop. July 6, 2010 history was made for our family, Justin's Quest and the National Brain Tumor Society. I received the call from an assistant to the President who was so nice and instrumental in making this day happen. I told the kids and just our parents about the big day as we did not want to spoil any chances of our meeting happening especially since our visit could change at any time given the President's schedule and national and world events. I was trying to keep everyone's emotions in check before the big day, especially Justin's. Last night I took the family out to dinner to go over our game plan today. I was told by the assistant that we would have at the most a 5 minute meet and greet with the President in the Oval office. We discussed at dinner how to greet the President and what the kids should expect. Audrey and I said that today would be one of the most memorable and important days in all of our lives, meeting the most important man in the WORLD( President Obama). We tried putting the kids to bed early last night for everyone to be well rested for the big day. Of course who could not sleep, you guessed it, Justin. He came into our room at around 11:15pm saying he could not sleep. Audrey and I tucked him back in bed and told him how proud we are of him and that we love him very much. We knew he was nervous as this meeting was so huge for his quest to raise awareness and find a cure for brain tumors. Finally everyone got to sleep, not to mention everyone else was also nervous for the big day. The kids got up around 9:30 am and I was at work and Audrey had all the kids outfits picked out. I of course wore a suit, Audrey a pants outfit, Justin had his Justin's Quest Jersey with Blue slacks and the other kids had their Justin's Quest Polo shirts with Khaki pants. I came home early from work so we could leave by 2:30 pm for our 5 pm visit. We arrived in DC around 3:30 pm and parked at a garage near the White House. We were a bit early and stopped at a corner market for a drink. It was 100 degrees and we were all sweating so bad on our walk to the West Gate security checkpoint. We arrived at security and were cleared to enter the White House. We all received visitor passes that we wore around our necks. Justin at this point was extremely nervous. Can you imagine what is going through a 13 year olds mind who is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, who is about to have his dream come true and meet the most important man in the world and that meeting he knows will make such a huge difference in his quest. I was feeling anxious for him. We were escorted to the West Wing waiting area at around 4:10 pm, and thankfully because we all needed the air conditioning. A Marine Honor Guard opened the door for us to the white House. At that moment, I was truly blown away at what was about to happen. If you told me before March 2009 that my son would be diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor and that we would start Justin's Quest to raise awareness and find a cure for brain tumors AND that we would meet the President of the United States to help our cause, I would have told anyone that they were crazy. We sat in the waiting area and everyone was as quiet as a church mouse. Finally, I broke the ice and tried to have a conversation with the Secret Service uniformed officer about why we are here. The officer was very interested in Justin's Quest and began to question the kids nicely and that helped to relax them. But Justin was obviously nervous because we knew he really wanted to make an impression on the President to convince him to shoot hoops. The pressure he put on himself was immense, but we told him do not worry. A White House Staffer came out to greet us and she was very nice. She spent the waiting time with us until and during our visit with the President. An assistant to the President came out again to tell us what was going to happen, He said" that you will line up and shake the President's hand and get a picture in the Oval office and he will spend a few seconds with Justin". At that point I was really hoping for more but I was just truly honored to be here. Then, another Whit House staffer came to us to apologize that the President is running late and we said please do not worry we are so excited to be here. At 5:22 pm came the big moment, 3 White House staffers led us back to the Oval office. The hallways were very busy as there was a large meeting in the cabinet room that just let out. We arrived just outside the Oval office door and we were greeted by 3 to 4 secret service men and chatted with staffers. Then another shocker happens, Vice President Biden comes up to us and says nicely " what are you all doing here" and I said to Justin, please tell Mr. Vice President why we are here and Justin said" I have a brain tumor and I started Justin's Quest to help find a cure and shoot 63,000 baskets for everyone who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in one year. Mr. Biden listened intently and said to Justin "that I had 2 cranialotomies which is different than a brain tumor but similar and that you will be OK" His words of encouragement really meant so much. As we were still talking to the Vice President the door to the Oval office opens and President Obama joyfully asked what is going on out here. He greets the boys first and asked their names and he joked that there is a common theme here with all "J" names. He invited us in and asked how many shots we have made so far and Justin said 15,000, The President had us pose for a picture in the Oval office and then he said" I know that shooting does not fit in my schedule but we are gonna do it anyway". The President then took of his jacket, rolled up his sleeves and we were led outside of the Oval office to the Presidential basketball court by secret service to shoot hoops. Our jaws all hit the floor. As were walking down to the court we conversed with the President and I thanked him and told him that we were so honored and humbled that he took the time out of his incredibly busy schedule to meet us and take an interest in Justin's plight and he said he was honored to meet Justin. The President was incredibly nice and personable. He truly was an awesome man who seemed like a regular guy that happened to be the most important man in the world. We arrived at the court and he said that he and each kid had to make a basket. Justin went first and he was nervous, it took him 3 tries to make a free throw. Jacob made a basket in 2 tries, Jordan 3 tries and Joey 6 tries. But guess what, the folklore about the President being a great ball player was true, he sank his first shot. The President came up to Justin after everyone made their shots and gave him a fist bump, VERY COOL. Those 5 shots took us to 15,005 shots made. The White House photographer took pictures of all the kids and the President shooting hoops. We gave the President and his family each a Justin's Quest Jersey and wristbands. The President signed a basketball and Brian presented Justin with a goody bag that included a frisbee signed by the President, a Presidential YOYO, A medal, and Presidential M&M's candy. All I can say is that we are all blown away and want to thank all those who were involved in making this monumental day happen. Hopefully this will put Justin's Quest and NBTS to a new level of awareness that will raise money and help find a cure for brain tumors. President Obama we are truly indebted to you for our visit and thank you very much as you left a wonderful lasting impression on our family and especially Justin!!!!!

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you are so Hero.. keep fight against Cancer... You are so lucky to meet President Obama.
Keep it up
Thanks

July 17, 2010 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Monique said...

keep it up buddy... great update Jon

July 17, 2010 at 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey.. I'm Obama Fan.. and I saw Obama Pictures Wesbite.. I just learn about you today.. I never know about you till now..
http://www.flickr.com/photos/whitehouse/4799506115/
Good Luck, Buddy..

July 17, 2010 at 10:44 PM  
Blogger Monique said...

Cool - just learned about you, Justin, and your family. And to have met the President? Oh WOW!
Congrats!

Monique

July 18, 2010 at 3:51 PM  

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