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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Welcome to our site!

Please make sure and read all the way through our website. There is a lot of helpful and useful information here. Pass it along to all of your friends. Even bring it up in conversation the next time you take your children to the Dr. Justin's Dr's told me while he was in PICU that people die from this disease they just don't know this is what it is. For some people there is just not enough time to diagnose them so the Dr's believe their death was caused by Pneumonia or strep. Just 5 years ago the statistics were 120 case in 100 years. NOW the statistics are 1,000 cases a year and 100 deaths a year! This disease is coming back and we have to be more aware! It attacks young health adolescents ages 14 - 25. Everyone I have personally talked to that has survived this disease refers to it as their "Near Death Experience!" This disease attacks the body faster then any Cancer or HIV. Justin went into the hospital April 16, 2008 and passed away May 12, 2008. 4 weeks it took this disease to take him away from us. Every case I have read is a little different, it attacks different organs each time. I've heard it attack the brain, the heart, the kidneys and in Justin's case it went after his lungs. We are continuing Justin's fight! Justin was not old enough to be a soldier but in my eyes he IS OUR soldier. He gave his life to save others in my point of view! We are saving lives and educating Dr's and bringing more awareness to this horrible nasty disease! For more information please also visit This Dr has been studying Lemierre's and sore throats for YEARS!
Thank you!
Justin E Rodgers Foundation for Lemierre's Awareness


Anonymous said...

I read about Justin a few weeks ago in the Sunday New York Times Magazine (although I didn't know his name until I read the article in the Post Dispatch and matched up the stories). My husband is a pediatrician here in St. Louis. I asked him if he had ever heard of Lemierre's - he hadn't, but he sure has now! We are so sorry for your loss, but it's terrific that you have turned this tragedy into an educational endeavour. I hope more people hear about Lemierre's and it becomes something as routinely treated as strep.

Jasmine said...

Hi there-

First, I would like to express my deep condolences for your loss. I was fortunate enough to go through Lemierre's and survive. Justin's story really hit home for me, and I admit that while reading the article I broke down because his nightmare was almost exactly the same as mine- it was like I was reliving it. I also went to the hospital and was dismissed because they thought I had the flu or strep. They didn't even make sure it WAS either of those- just like with Justin. Like you said- it was my near death experience- but not until now do I see how sick I really was and how wrecked my body became because of it. Isn't is strange that only healthy, young adults seem to get this rare disease? Thankfully, my team at the University of Washington Med Center were able to isolate the fusobacterium and begin to give me the correct antibiotics. I am so happy to be hear and Justin's story is another reminder of that. Stay strong- I will keep your family and Justin in my thought.

Seattle, WA

comac75 said...

I was sitting here doing research on Lemierre's syndrome and came across your story and heartbreak. First I want to send my condolences. I am so sorry for your loss! I am an ICU nurse and my unit has encountered our first case of this horrible disease process! We were all unfamiliar with it but I have to say, our Dr.s were right on top of it and caught it hopefully in the nick of time. Our otherwise young healthy patient had, had dental work done not knowing they had a strep infection. Now this.... It has now been three weeks and we have learned so very much about this disease and we all have worked very hard to do whatever we can to help fight it! This is a devastating disease even for those who survive it! Thank you for being so strong to take your loss and educate and spread the word about "the forgotten disease"

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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