LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- On August 11th, members of the community came together to hold a special event for a boy with an inoperable brain tumor who’s working his way through his “bucket list.”
“When I asked Justin what he wanted to see at his Christmas party. Justin said, ‘I want to see kids smile,'” said Pamela Thomas with the Christmas committee.
And that is just what happened at 12-year-old Justin Rodriguez’s “Christmas in August” party at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.
Justin has been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer in his brain. Doctors say he may not make it until Christmas, which is why having a Christmas party was one of Justin’s last wishes.
But the 12-year-old wasn’t at the head of the party. In fact, he didn’t want it to be all about him. So, party organizers brought in a group of kids from Unity Lawton, and Justin gave *them* the gifts and Christmas joy.
“I just feel really nice inside. I think it would be fun for them doing all these crazy fun things.”
Justin first dealt with cancer at age 4, but it was removed. After years of checkups, just a month ago is when they received the bad news.
“One day he just woke up and he said, ‘my arm and my legs are starting to hurt.’ So we thought maybe he slept wrong. And then the next morning he woke up and he couldn’t move his left side.” Vincente Pierre is Justin’s stepdad, or “bonus Dad” as he likes to call him. He says Justin is an amazing young man and has always been very selfless.
“He’s always been a giving child. Always cares about everyone else but him…To me, I think the world is going to miss an enormous person. He’s unreal.”
After being diagnosed, his mother posted Justin’s list of last wishes online. They were met with an overwhelming amount of love and support from the community and beyond.
“His story has just touched us deeply and Justin has made us want to be better people.” Pamela Thomas was on the Christmas committee, and she says she was honored to get to help with fulfilling one of Justin’s last wishes. “He wanted this event to be bigger than him. He wanted it to be about others. And so, I hope we have been able to satisfy that for him today.”
“It’s absolutely fantastic that we all come together for one good cause.” Justin’s mother, Soraya, says she hopes that this will start a movement to help others. “It’s really great that we’re doing this now, but even if he has his wings, that maybe we do all this for others. Because there will be other cancer kids.”
Justin and his family say they are grateful for everyone’s support.
“Thank you so much. You all are amazing.”
“Thank you very much for all you’ve done. Makes me so happy, and makes my heart melt seeing all these kids smile, and having fun– crazy fun.”
One of Justin’s wishes was to meet Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. And while he didn’t meet him in person he did get a personalized video message from him as well as some of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
If you’d like to help out with Justin, you can find Justin’s bucket list on the “Hope For Justin” Facebook page.
In other health news, the Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center in Lawton will be having their annual free Prostate Cancer Screening on Saturday, September 9th from 8:00 a.m. to Noon. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 580-250-6565.
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