Justin was 20 years old when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma during the summer between his sophomore and junior year at Gonzaga University. Everything moved quickly after the diagnosis with testing, bone marrow biopsy, fertility preservation, and the most stressful part was waiting for the testing to determine whether treatment was an option or not.
Justin had surgery to remove the tumor and he spent his 21st birthday in chemotherapy. His parents were committed to keeping his life as normal as possible while he was in treatment. They paid his tuition and rent so that he could continue to live with college roommates and he was able to keep some sanity (and fun) in his life. It was one week in treatment and then two weeks off living in his college house.
The sarcoma journey changed Justin’s life. Justin was not taking college seriously enough during the two years before his diagnosis, which was reflected in his GPA. After treatment, Justin went back to Gonzaga, earned a degree in Sports Management while making it on the Dean’s List. He was declared free of disease in July 2010. He later married and currently works in the athletic department at his alma mater.
In 2017, Justin was diagnosed with a brain tumor and then had twin boys between his second and third brain surgeries. He was again declared free of disease in September 2019.
Having sarcoma and then dealing with another totally different tumor has given Justin a strong perspective on life. He says, “I feel so fortunate to have made it thus far. I loved my life before, but now feel even more fortunate to be here. I have a great job and health insurance, not much more you can ask for. Sarcoma helped me to put things into perspective. I remember going through treatment and thinking I can’t wait to have regular problems again. I feel blessed everyday just to wake up, to be married and have two healthy children. I was raised to have an appreciation for what you have and going through this solidifies those values. I am thankful for my parents and amazing family, which is incredibly close knit. It takes a village to support a sarcoma patient.”
Justin would like to thank those who donate to support the work of NWSF. These contributions help hundreds of patients through financial assistance grants and support programs and fund needed research. Working together, we can ensure that no one faces sarcoma alone.