Justin approached his cancer diagnosis and treatments with persistence, faith, and fortitude. He was determined to live his life to the fullest throughout the entire ordeal. Not a fan of being called a hero or a warrior, Justin attempted to just “do the treatments” and keep living his life.
In the fall of 2021, when he learned he was in “remission”, he openly shared with his friends and family on social media that he was “incredibly grateful for every single prayer, conversation, text, gift, donation and call that helped him”. He knew the journey wasn’t over yet, but he also assured his friends that the one thing cancer could not take from him was his smile, despite having most of his teeth removed along with his tumor. Even with an incredibly optimistic mindsight, he admitted that the whole situation was quite difficult. In the fall of 2022, when he relapsed for the second time, he wrote this in his personal journal:
I know I hardly share about what cancer treatment has been like, but since I was told I was in remission a year ago, it’s come back twice. I’ve tried my hardest throughout my fight with cancer to stay positive, to pour into others the way I’ve been poured into, but some days I realize I’ve got nothing left to pour out. As an optimist, I’m trying my best to see the good in this, but there is no good in cancer. It takes and takes and takes until I’ve got absolutely nothing left to give.”
After a frank conversation with his oncologist, in which he learned that he would unlikely survive rhabdomyosarcoma, Justin once again wrote his heartfelt thoughts in a journal, but this time with a sense of determination to live his life with an intense sense of purpose:
“There is no cure…nobody is giving up, but it was also made clear to me that unless someone discovers an outright cure for rhabdo, I’ll die in a few years. I refuse to let that news break me though. Life is only worth living if you make it worth it. Right now, I vow to live every single day I have left to the fullest. I vow to love with my whole heart, laugh with every ounce of air in my lungs, run ‘til my legs give out, and squeeze every drop of goodness out of this load of lemons life has dropped on me…”
True to these words, Justin lived every single day to the fullest. He committed to donating his tumors to medical science, spent his days with those he loved most, kept on laughing every day, and even planned a picnic for his family less than two days before he died.