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Monday, April 20, 2009

One year ago

Our battle with this disease was just beginning. We had no idea what we were in for.

It really feels like just yesterday all of this happened. I feel like just yesterday I was telling my little brother when he was first admitted to the hospital "All of this to get out of School." Just kidding of course! I also teased him by not wanting to kiss him goodbye because I didn't want to get what he had and pass it along to my 6 week old. MAN DO I REGRET THAT!!! Because that was the last time I ever got to talk to him again!

We have gone from never hearing of Lemierre's, to dealing with it first hand, to trying to find information and research it online, to dealing with the aftermath, to starting a non profit to help others learn about it. All in one year. I can not believe all the emails I get from people all over the world not just the US but the world that have been affected by Lemierre's in some way.

I do want to thank all of you that send me your stories, comments and especially the questions. I would still believe everything on the Internet about this being such a rare disease if it wasn't for all of you who have shared your stories with me. I no longer believe this is a rare disease I know believe this is a disease that Dr's and so many other people out there have never heard of. And they want to learn everyone always asks me the same questions, what are the symptoms?, what is it?, what does it do to your body and how do you get it? Now we can answer all of those questions and more on our new website.

Shortly we will be working with Dr. Centor. He has years and years of knowledge about this disease and he is willing to share what he can with us to fight this thing and teach Dr.'s about it so it can be diagnosed and treated faster.

We have lots of fundraising events planned one of them is just next week. It is not really a fundraiser just a way to remember Justin close to the one year anniversary of when he received his angel wings! We are having a Benefit Dinner / Prom. Anyone in the St. Louis area is still welcome to come please email me. The cost is $30 per person.
Hopefully we will be holding a Lemierre's walk sometime in Sept maybe around his birthday, we have a golf outing planned for Sept too!

I will keep all of our events updated on the Contact Us / Events page at

Justin I heard a song the other day, of course by Rascal Flatts you know me I love them!! ;0) Anyway it had the most perfect lyrics every single word they sang reminded me of you and how much we MISS and LOVE you!!!! I won't type out the whole song but I have to tell you this one part! I'm sure you have heard me sing it to you a million times already! The name of the song is "Forever" there are about 4 other songs on their album that remind me soo much of you

"I miss you so much, your light, your smile your way & everything about us! Though your gone, your still here, in my heart in my tears. Yeah you sure left your mark you were just getting started. It wasn't long enough together but it was long enough to last forever! "

Love to all!


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter everyone!!
This was the last Holiday we had with Justin.
Justin went to the hospital April 16th last year.
I remember telling my mom that he will be ok, he just needs some rest and good meds. Thinking he had pneumonia but I knew after just 2 days something was seriously wrong!
So much has happened since then.
I received our official noticed from the IRS we are a 501 (c) (3) non profit corporation.
Thank you to everyone that has supported us and helped get our name out there.
Speaking of the website we have a NEW ONE!!!!!!
Pass it around to everyone.
I have received 4 new Lemierre's stories in the past 2 weeks. A few of them were at least 2 hours away from St. Louis. Thank you so much for sharing your stores and experience with me.
If you want to come to our first benefit dinner May 1st please send me your address!

Thank you!


We will never forget you baby brother! We will always love you and you will always be in our heart. Cruz told me the other day he misses you and I told him to talk to you that you listen you just can't talk back. He says he can't wait to see you again!! Allen reminds Cruz of all the fun times you had like last year at Grandma and Grandpa's @ Easter wrestling around. And bugging you when you had all your friends over. We all can't wait to see you again. WE LOVE YOU
love your big sister!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Short Sleeve T Shirts

I am going to be placing an order for Short Sleeve T Shirts next week. They will be the same design as the long sleeve ones.
They are $8 for S - XL and $9.50 for XXL and up. You can us our paypal check out here in our website or you can mail me a check. If you will be mailing me a check please email me and I will send you my mailing address. I am also going to drop the price of the Long Sleeve T-shirts to $11.00.
Tammy Valencia

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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