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Saturday, July 12, 2008

2 months today

Well we lost Justin 2 months ago today to this horrible nasty disease. We still miss and think of you every day little brother! But all the effort we are doing to bring awareness to this thing is really working! This is the only thing that makes me feel better about this whole situation. Everyone gives us kudos for doing this to help save others but honestly I don't know what I would do if I didn't have this website to help me get through everyday. I still think about everything you went through in the hospital, you are the strongest person I know!! You are our Superman!

All I can say to everyone reading this is please don't ever stop talking about Justin, always let people know what took our son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, & friend away from us WAY to early.

I talk about him everyday and tell people every chance I get what took my little brother away from me.

Thank you to everyone!

Love, Tammy


GordieC said...

First of all I just want to say how sorry I am for your loss. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I just found out about this site yesterday from my mom. I've been reading it for about an hour now. My eyes are blood shot. I was told I had lemierres's in October of 2007. Most of the things I remember are from what people told me. They had to take my jugular vein out on the right side of my neck. I could still go blind from the clots in my head. Long story short, I have been spreading the word throughout the Baltimore, DC area. I will continue to remain updated with this page. My e-mail is Feel free to keep in contact.

Anonymous said...

Dear Tammy,
My heart goes out to you and your family. I read this website and cried and cried. I'm so sorry Justin did not survive this terrible lemierre's disease and I pray for your family to be able to get through all this.
My son Michael, 17 years old, just had lemierre's syndrome in February '08' and is still having complications from it because the infection infected many organs but it caused damage to his mitral valve & Michael had to have Open Heart Surgery last month (June 08). His valve is still leaking and he may need another heart surgery and maybe a replacement valve if it gets worse. Michael was at UCSF in San Francisco in the PICU for over 2 weeks in Feb. and was at Children's hospital in Oakland,CA for his heart surgery. I will email you and give you details about our experience with lemierre's. It is definately not that rare when I see all these people commenting on your website about having it. Thank you for getting the word out about this deadly and damaging infection. I'm sick about Justin passing, I'm so sorry, words cannot express my sorrow for your family. Your parents have endured more pain than any parent in their lifetime should. I hope we can talk sometime... Sherrill Iniguez (I will email you)

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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