After a long battle with cancer and an outpouring of community support, 20-year-old Justin Webb has died. The community is invited to his service which will be held at the Sportsplex from 1-4 p.m. on Sun. Sept. 18.
Justin’s father Art Webb said that Justin fought as hard as he could, and did it with good humor.
“He fought with everything he had, every day it took something else away from him,” said Art, as he fought back tears. “He fought with everything he had until he had nothing left to fight with.”
Although completely paralyzed, Justin was in a stabilizing trend and was brought home from the Campbell River hospital on Wed., Aug. 31. According to his parents, he was doing fine until his blood pressure suddenly dropped on the morning of Sun., Sept. 4. His mother, Diane Zaschke, called 911 and Justin was rushed back to hospital where he succumbed to the brain cancer around 9:20 p.m. that night.
On Sunday, Art was driving up to Prince George to drop off Justin’s car for his girlfriend, Katie Cornish, to use while attending university there.
When Art found out that Justin was back in the hospital he turned around and hurried back. He arrived just a half hour before Justin passed, and held the phone to Justin’s ear as Cornish said good-bye. Justin died At the end of the call.
“He waited until his girlfriend got on her way to university and he knew she was safe and sound there,” explained Art. “He made sure everything was right; he held on until his dad got there.”
Justin had gone to Prince George with Cornish in Sept. 2010 to go to the University of Northern B.C. together, but when home for the Christmas break he started stubbing his toes and having problems operating his arms and legs.
Doctors determined that Justin had a rare form of brain cancer; a spiderweb-like tumor, called a primitive neuroectodermal tumor that had spread to both sides of his brain and was inoperable.
Campbell River rallied around Justin and his family by showing support and holding a huge fundraiser on April 30 to help enable Justin’s parents to leave their jobs and be with their son 24 hours a day. Zaschke said the family was very appreciative of the support.
“The fundraiser that they had, he watched it on Skype, and it made him happy for a few hours, maybe he just might have forgot that he was sick,” said Zaschke. “We are so grateful for the love and support that they showed us and our son, and they have been absolutely phenomenal.”
Justin’s parents will create a bursary in Justin’s honour. It will be for a hardworking student whose grades don’t have to be top notch, as his parents said Justin saw a gap in bursaries for average students that work hard for the grades they get.
“Justin was always ticked off at the fact that only the smart kids got scholarships,” said Art.
In lieu of flowers his parents would like people to make donations to Cameryn’s Cause for Kids Society, which is a local charity in honour of a young girl who died of the same cancer that Justin had. The charity helps local families struggling with this disease.
Art said the loss of Justin will be felt community wide as he knew many people from high school, playing football with the Wolves, and working at Quality Foods.
“He was the first to befriend you and the last to criticize you, and he accepted you for what you were,” said Art. “He was the type of kid that just walked into a room and it lit up.”