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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Justin's Update

It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since Justin was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. As I reflect back on these 10 years, I am blown away at all the different experiences we went through as a family. This has been a very difficult journey at times but also a very humbling one. In the snap of your fingers our lives were forever ever changed. Justin thankfully is very lucky that he is here today and doing incredibly well. Justin is 22 years old and just finished his D1 soccer career at Loyola University of Maryland and will graduate in December 2019. This is a tremendous feat for any person but especially Justin who has had to endure living with a brain tumor. He is doing great in school and will earn a degree in communications and a minor in entrepreneurship. I can truly say that our family is closer and more appreciative of the little things in life because of our journey. I never thought I would be writing this blog in a million years but I am proud to do so because of experiences we have been through the past 10 years. Justin has handled this diagnosis with grace, courage and incredible strength. We will embark on our 10th DC Race For Hope May 5th. We are proud to have our team Justin’s Quest. This year Jacob, Justin’s younger brother will run the race side by side with Justin. Justin’s brothers Jordan, Jacob and Joey have been a rock for him. The race is a difficult time as your heart goes out to the families that are not as lucky as ours. I am thankful every day that we have Justin and feel so blessed to have the 6 of our family members together. Justin keep living the dream and never give up in your life long endeavors. We love you very much.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Loyola University of Maryland

It has been quite some time since I have blogged. Well time to report on Justin. Justin became a student/athlete in the spring of 2016 at Loyola University of Maryland. The school is a fantastic educational university and it has an excellent soccer program in which Justin is a member of the men's soccer team. The school is located in Baltimore Maryland and has a beautiful campus. Justin is in the Sellinger Business School. Justin is so happy to be at Loyola. It has always been his dream to play soccer in college and he is blessed to be on a division I team. Most importantly Justin is doing well and will be 20 years old in October. It is so hard to believe that after his diagnosis of his brain tumor in March 2009 that he would be in college and playing soccer. There have been countless doctors appointments, hospital visits and MRI's. As we look back at his diagnosis and if one told me Justin would be alive and in a wonderful college playing soccer, I would not have believed you. Well it is true and we could not be more blessed and lucky to have Justin here and doing so well. Justin is so determined to make a difference and conquer all that comes his way. Justin hopes to do some brain tumor fundraising for Justin's Quest at Loyola.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Last night Justin graduated high school. He attended the Bullis School. It was a night filled with so much emotion.  Audrey and I could not be more proud of Justin's accomplishments and especially graduating high school. Justin always struggled with school from an early age because he is learning disabled. He attended the Lab School of Washington from kindergarten to 7th grade. The Lab School is a school that specializes in kids with emotional and learning issues. Justin could not read or write until the 4th grade. The Lab School was a great place for Justin to get a foundation because they used a multi-sensory approach to learning. We were so happy the first time Justin read us a brought tears to our eyes. Justin's last year at Lab School in 2009 when he was diagnosed with his brain tumor. It was one of the hardest things I had to do is meet with the school about Justin's brain tumor. The school was in a crisis mode because all the children are so fragile emotionally and the teachers are so connected with the kids. I remember to this day telling the principal the terrible news and we were both crying. We owe so much to that school as Justin would not be where he is today. Justin loved the Lab School but he begged us to go to public school at Frost Middle School because he so badly wanted to be like his brothers and also be with his neighborhood friends. He excelled at Frost thanks to the learning accommodations provided by the school and the county. His teachers were fantastic. We thought it would be best for Justin to attend Bullis because it is a great school with small classes and a very nurturing environment. He was a freshman and his older brother Jordan was a senior. Jordan really looked out for him and it was amazing to watch them both play varsity soccer together. Justin excelled at Bullis and they really worked very hard with Justin. He was so determined to do well and fit in. Justin became our little success story at the school. Again, Justin defied all the odds given his brain tumor and learning disabilities to graduate Bullis. We are very grateful to Bullis for Justin's success As I have said before, we did not think that Justin would be alive to even graduate when he was first diagnosed. It has been a very hard journey for Justin to reach this finish line. He had to work so much harder than everyone else not only with his learning disability but the constant stress of living with an inoperable brain tumor. The headmaster last night gave a great speech about detours in life. He ironically mentioned Vice President Biden with the loss of his son Beau to a brain tumor over this past weekend. He said it was a detour for the Vice President and another wall that he has to climb. Justin too has had a detour and many walls to climb. Justin has so much determination that I believe if he puts his mind to it he can achieve anything. Now Justin is relaxing and reflecting on his accomplishments. He is so excited to go to Salisbury University to become a student/soccer athlete. He is about to embark on a new journey away from home and our comfort to become the man that he wants to be and achieve greatness at Salisbury while still continuing his Justin's Quest foundation work. It has been a long journey for Audrey and I as well pushing and comforting this little boy while raising 3 other boys. I have been very focused on Justin once he was diagnosed with learning disabilities because I felt so bad for him struggling in school and emotionally having a very hard time After his diagnosis in 2009, I basically stopped everything that I was doing to focus exclusively on saving my son. This consumed me 24 hours a day, I could not bear the thought of burying my son. Thankfully today Justin is doing well, we have him with the best doctors in the world for his brain tumor. Justin, Mom and I cannot express how proud we are of you and so blessed to have you here with us every day. We love you very much!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Justin's Last Day of High School

What a milestone, Justin completed his last full day of school before exams. He graduates June 1, 2015. This day as you all can imagine is one of so much joy. Six years ago after Justin's diagnosis we did not know he would be here to graduate. Each day and milestone that he achieves is a blessing. Today we know he is in a great place as we have in with the best doctors for type of brain tumor and the best treatment on standby if needed. However, as I look back when he was first diagnosed it was doom and gloom because we had no idea for the first 9 months to a year what his prognosis was. We are so proud of Justin and are looking forward to him going to Salisbury University as a student/athlete playing soccer. It is a great university which has a fantastic environment where he will thrive. The summer will be filled with a lot of soccer for him as his club team the Baltimore Celtic compete for a national championship and hopefully some rest and relaxation before he starts college.. It is a very exciting time for Justin and the Friedlander family.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Exciting News

It has been awhile since I have updated you. Justin was accepted early decision to Salisbury University and he will play soccer for the team. Justin is so happy that his dream of attending Salisbury University came true. He plans to continue his endeavors with Justin's Quest at Salisbury. The college student body is very community orientated and is a great match to help and work with Justin continue his work to raise awareness and find a cure for brain tumors.  I cannot explain to you the feeling that Audrey and I have. As I have said earlier that every milestone that Justin achieves is so incredibly important and gratifying because of his brain tumor. When he was diagnosed we never thought he would even be alive to attend college. Not only is he going to a fantastic academic school but playing soccer for great team. Having faith and the best medical team has helped Justin beat all odds. Also, all of the prayers that Justin has received and continues to receive is also making a difference. As I write this I have to pinch myself that Justin is here on this earth, doing well and enjoying life. About 2 months ago Justin came to Audrey and I and asked us if he can get a tattoo. Of course Audrey and I were shocked but he just turned 18 and can get a tattoo without our approval. I asked him what type of tattoo do you want. He said " I want to get a Tatoo with the saying God gives his hardest battles to his strongest warriors with his date of diagnosis 3/12/09." Well Audrey and I were taken back by this phrase as quite it frankly blew us away at the meaning of the saying and most importantly what it means to him. We told him that this is permanent for the rest of his life. Justin recognized this but felt very strong that his brain tumor is one of the things that defines who he is. We went with him to get the tattoo which he had placed on the right side of his ribs. It was incredibly painful for him, but he was a soldier. Justin is so proud of this tattoo because it gives him a permanent badge of courage of his plight and the continued desire to raise awareness and find a cure for brain tumors. This kid never seems to amaze me. We are going to Mass general Hospital December 16th for Justin's MRI and doctors appointments. Of course this is a very stressful time for him and the family. We have been going to the eye doctor every 6 months and getting a special eye mapping test of his eye and optic nerves every 6 months. All of this is testing is done alternatively thereby giving Justin testing every 2 months to catch any new changes in Justin's brain tumor. We are very blessed to have Justin here and the rest of our boys.We will keep you posted. Happy and healthy holidays to all!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Salisbury University

We are pleased to announce that Justin has officially applied early decision to Salisbury University. Justin is so excited about going to SU. It is a dream for him to be a model student/athlete. He wants to play soccer for SU and be a contributor to the school. For Audrey and I it is unbelievable to fathom that Justin is going to college. We are so lucky because we did not know if Justin would be on this earth to achieve this milestone. All the little things he does are a blessing but going to college is just an unbelievable feeling for our family. I have to pinch myself that Justin has this opportunity. Since we submitted the application to SU I have felt a sense of peace and reflection that life is so precious. I am soaking it all in and trying to enjoy my family more. Justin has been such a blessing to us helping our family smell the roses. He is doing great in school and fantastic on the varsity soccer team where he is the captain. December is a big month for Justin as he will be at Mass General for testing. In the meantime he is going getting special eye testing soon and as always we are praying for a good result.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Justin is about to embark on an incredible milestone for any high school student and that is graduation from high school. As I ponder this, I realize that this feat is incredibly significant because just 5 years ago we were not sure if Justin would even be here to graduate much less have the scholastic ability because of potential treatment. As I have said in previous blogs all the little milestones that parents take for granted, we on the other hand count our blessings when each milestone is achieved by Justin. It is with great joy that Audrey, me and the rest of the family will witness Justin graduate from Bullis. Today he starts his last season on the Varsity soccer team and probably will be named a captain. Again I have to pinch myself as to how lucky we are that he is achieving all these milestones. I chatted with him this morning to say how proud we are of him and to enjoy this year. He was so excited to start his senior year, but there is a bit of trepidation going off to college and leaving the nest. All kids have that feeling of trepidation but for obvious reasons Justin's is more pronounced. We know he will do great at college. He is so excited to apply early decision to his dream school, Salisbury University where he also wants to play soccer for the team. Salisbury is a fantastic school and we met so many wonderful people at our visit that we are certain that it is the right college for Justin. I will update you on the progress of Justin's senior journey. We could not be prouder of Justin.