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Friday, June 13, 2008

One month

Well it has been one month since Justin was taken from us because of this horrible nasty disease. I first off have to say a huge Thank you to everyone that is thinking of us and praying for us (Justin's friends and family) it really does help in times like this! Everyday I get 2 or 3 new posts of people I don't know nor does my family telling us how sorry they are for our loss and that they are thinking and praying for us and myself and my family has to say THANK YOU!! I'm really happy about how much traffic this website has gotten. It looks like everyday I have 10 - 20 new votes on the top poll. A friend of the family said she is going to work on getting us a logo started for this awareness. We can put it on T Shirts and all sorts of stuff to get the word out. My mom talked with A Doctor that has been researching sore throats for a really long time. He asked my mom if he could use Justin's story when trying to teach other Doctors that a sore throat is not just a simple sore throat it could be much much more.

I've learned so much in the last month about this disease and how MIS diagnosed Strep Throat is. I believe this to be like Cancer. Doctors are not exactly sure how people get cancer we just know they do and some survive and some don't. That is how I feel about this disease but I think this disease hits you a lot faster. We found out Justin had it and within 3 weeks of knowing what it is he passed away. And we never got to say goodbye and Justin never knew that is what he had. Cancer patients most of the time have months to try to fight and when the worst comes of it they say their goodbyes and they know what took them away. In my eyes this needs awareness just like cancer. I again emailed Oprah and some others about this story. In the next couple weeks I am going to type up a generic letter about Lemierre's and maybe send 4 or 5 letters out a week to doctors I find online. If you would like a copy of this letter to send to your Doctor or Doctor's in your area just send me an email.
Thank you again for all your LOVE, SUPPORT AND PRAYERS!

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Justin's news article in the West Magazine

This was taken from

Rockwood student dies rapidly from little-known disease
By Diane Plattner

In April, Eureka High School student Justin Rodgers began to complain of a severe sore throat and was dead approximately one month later from an unfamiliar disease. Now, his mother hopes to spread awareness about the deadly disease.
Justin died in the early morning hours of May 12, the day after Mother’s Day, after losing a battle with Lemierre’s Syndrome, a serious bacteria that is not well-known and even doctors are prone to misdiagnose the disease. Unfortunately, Rodgers’ doctor was among that group after initially diagnosing him with strep throat on April 11, said Sheryl Rodgers, Justin’s mother.
“Justin had said, ‘Mom, this is the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life,’” Rodgers said.
She said that Justin’s doctor took no throat culture and gave her son medicine for strep throat. She said her son’s condition worsened over the next few days during which he had increased high fever, chest pain and a lump in his neck. On April 14, Rodgers took her son to St. Anthony’s Hospital, which transported him overnight to Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital where he underwent extensive testing, including X-rays and blood work, Rodgers said.
Rodgers said that hospital officials diagnosed him with Lemierre’s Syndrome, a bacteria that can surface after mouth trauma. Last July, Justin was in a car accident that resulted in mouth injuries that required him to get major dental work, including a recent new tooth. In addition, Justin had suffered a broken nose just before the onset of his sore throat, his mother said.
“I wonder if all this woke up the bacteria, which was already living in the body,” Rodgers said.
The last time Rodgers saw him fully awake was a few days later, when hospital officials decided to place her son on a respirator and sedate him with drugs.
“He was out of it but still with us then,” Rodgers said. “He would frown when the doctors worked on him. So he had some responses.”
However, Justin’s lungs kept collapsing, prompting hospital doctors by April 25 to place him on an ECMO machine to help rest his lungs and heart. Doctors at that point also put him into an induced coma, Rodgers said.
“At that point there was no response from Justin,” Rodgers said. “Still, I talked to him and rubbed his sore spots to let him know we were there.”
By Mother’s Day, Justin was leaking too much blood, prompting doctors to decide to remove him from the ECMO, a move they said was risky if his lungs were not healed enough.
“Once they took him off the ECMO, Justin’s face was getting gray,” Rodgers said. “He was holding his own for a few hours, but then he starting going downhill.”
Justin died early the next morning following Mother’s Day with his immediate family, including three older siblings, by his side, Rodgers said.
“He was our baby,” Rodgers said. “I think the hospital tried to keep him going so he did not die on Mother’s Day.”
The tragedy is not the first for the Rodgers family. They also lost a 4-year-old child in a horseback riding accident and had a stillborn child many years ago, Rodgers said.
“I thought God could not possibly do this to us again,” Rodgers said. “I asked why again, why us. But there is no answer. Here we are walking on egg shells again.”
Rodgers said she was at least thankful that Justin’s funeral was so big that people were standing outside, a huge tribute to his life. She also hopes to honor his life with a campaign to help spread awareness about Lemierre’s Syndrome, which she said often hits people between the ages of 14 and 25. It is not spread by kissing but instead lives in the body, she said. Her goal is to make people, including doctors, more aware of its symptoms so they are not mistaken for strep throat.
“I do not want Justin to have died in vain,” Rodgers said. “This is one bad bacteria. It is very serious. People should not treat it lightly.”
To learn more about Lemierre’s Syndrome, visit the Rodgers’ family Web site at