Justin Webb communicates in tears.
That’s because he can’t talk, walk or even move. A spider web-like tumour has spread across his brain and has virtually cut off his motor functions.
He can’t even swallow because the radiation treatments have a created a sunburn-like effect through his throat.
He’s just 20 years old. He should have just completed his first year of school at the University of Northern B.C. He should be looking for a summer job, enjoying BBQs with friends, and hugging his girlfriend.
Instead, Justin Webb is confined to a bed at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria where he undergoes daily radiation treatments to be followed by chemotherapy.
A bag filled with a thick white liquid provides his daily nutrition. Several other bags of fluids and medication also hang by his bedside and are pumped into him through tubes.
The room is filled with cards and well wishes from his family and many friends. His mom and dad, Diane and Art, are there too.
“The tears are a good sign. That’s his way of talking right now,” says Art.
Another good sign was last week’s MRI which shows the radiation has halted the tumour’s progress.
Also encouraging for this young man was the huge show of support for him on Saturday afternoon at Timberline Secondary School.
For three hours, a few hundred people came through the cafeteria to support a benefit for Justin.
They listened to live music, entered bids on the silent auction, had their photos taken and participated in a Minute to Win It contest.
And, in the end, they had raised more than $12,000 to support Justin.
But more important than the money was the outpouring of emotional support for Justin.
He was hooked up to Skype and was able to spend a few hours watching the live bands and the many friends who took the time to express words of encouragement.
“He’s watching wide-eyed. He hasn’t even slept today,” says Art, who stayed in Victoria while Diane and daughter Michelle, along with her children, travelled back to Campbell River to be a part of the fundraiser.
The entire family sends their thanks and appreciation for the outpouring of support for Justin. A more complete thank-you will appear in a future Heros and Zeros column.
As well, there are few auction items left over, including a Bobby Orr photo and book, and two Rod Brind’Amour bobbleheads with signed rookie cards. If anyone is interested, please call me at 250-923-2608