As a child, Justin struggled with asthmatic symptoms. A biopsy later in life revealed a rare disorder, impacting his lungs.
Despite the diagnosis, Justin focused on love – meeting his soulmate, Julie. When they met, Justin was working in construction, driving heavy equipment with a background in masonry and carpentry. Justin continued to remain strong for his family, despite the asthmatic symptoms.
In the fall of 2011, one year post biopsy, Justin was told he was dealing with a “terminal illness” and that he would need a double lung transplant to survive. But, he felt at the time that a transplant was not in his best interest, after feeling better and having more strength.
Justin and Julie married and decided to start their own family, along with Justin’s son, Aidan. After trying for a baby with no luck, they decided to seek medical assistance and underwent seven rounds of intrauterine insemination. Doctors told them that there was a 1 in 60-million chance that the last round could work. Four short weeks later, Julie’s blood work was positive for pregnancy hormones, and at six weeks doctors confirmed the miracle heartbeat.
Baby Grayson was born on March 11, 2016.
Justin’s health rapidly declined after the arrival of Grayson. He was in and out of the hospital on a consistent basis and was struggling to take care of himself, and the rest of his family.
At this point, Justin and Julie decided that it was in his best interest to seek another opinion. Justin met with his new doctor and was referred back to the Cleveland Clinic for another evaluation. Here he was told that he needed a double lung transplant, but not emergently. It would be best to wait until he had exhausted all his current lungs’ function because the average life expectancy after transplant was only five years.
As his health continued to fail, Justin and Julie frequented Cleveland Clinic on a regular basis. Doctors there attempted to manage his illness medically and tried new findings as they became available. Doctors finally decided that Justin’s body had handled enough. For six months, Justin was unable to leave his couch and was dependent on 8-10 liters of oxygen at all times.
Justin was cleared for the transplant list, and the wait began. And just 63 days after being placed on the list, they received the call they’d been waiting for. A young man had lost his battle with addiction, and in their grief, his family selflessly made the decision to donate life. Thankfully, his lungs turned out to be a match for Justin.
That is where Justin’s Journey began.
Justin is no longer critically ill, but he is medically fragile. He continues to make small positive strides forward, but his recovery will be a lengthy one.
His loved ones are holding a “Walkathon” to benefit Justin, Julie and their sons. The hope is that attendees will support the family, as Justin continues to fight. Details can be found here and also below.
Walkathon to benefit #JustinsJourneySunday, September 22nd at 4 PM – 6 PMOakfield Alabama Central School District
*Cash only event60-minute walk or run