Honored Kid

Justin A.

Justin A. Kid Photo

Location

Vineland, NJ, US

Diagnosis

Brain or spinal cord tumor

Date of Diagnosis

February 2009

Status

Passed away

Treated At

The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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My Story

Justin Alvarez’s love of vintage cartoons is reflected in his wardrobe. But his parents, Jeff and Kerry Alvarez, and all of his family and friends say it is him who is the true superhero. The 11-year-old is in a fight for his life with a familiar enemy. His friends and family are praying for a miracle. Justin was diagnosed with brain cancer nearly three years ago. He fought it and beat it. But in October 2011, just 4 months ago, it came back and it came back in his brain stem. The doctors say it's inoperable. In 2009, the Alvarez family was breathing a sigh of relief that Kerry Alvarez’s breast cancer was in remission. But the time for celebration was short-lived. Justin was vomiting in the middle of the night. At first, it was dismissed as maybe acid reflux or perhaps a food allergy. But family members grew more anxious and took Justin to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for an MRI. The resulting image stunned the family. Justin had a baseball-sized tumor growing in his brain. That kick-started a treatment of surgery and aggressive chemotherapy. Justin had a rare pediatric cancer called glioblastoma multiform. The youngster weathered the treatments returning to Bishop Schad Regional School when he could. Sometimes it was only one day a week. Justin grew stronger and doctor’s visits were more infrequent. Regular 3-month visits gave way to 6-month checkups. When life had just about returned to normal, cancer came back for a rematch. In October, a routine MRI revealed the tumor had returned. This time, it is lodged against Justin’s brain stem, making it inoperable.

The Childhood Cancer Ripple Effect

Who's Honoring Me

Help kids take childhood back from cancer — support lifesaving cancer research today.

Children who are fighting or have fought cancer inspire others to be part of the Foundation's mission — to support the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers and give survivors long and healthy lives.

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