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National foundation picks Aurora boy as cancer ambassador

7:06 PM, Dec 31, 2011   |    comments
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"One of my fans made these for me," Justin said.

The boy from Aurora dons a pair of customized black Converse sneakers with his name sewn in, patches of his favorite things like Lego blocks and golf, and one word that describes it all - "fighter."

"It's an important word because I'm fighting cancer for four times," Justin said.

He has a rare cancer of the nervous system called neuroblastoma.

"No child should have cancer four times. It's absolutely ridiculous," Lori Miller, Justin's mother, said.

He has undergone numerous rounds of chemotherapy and several tries with experimental therapies.

"I don't know. The cancer just keeps coming back," Justin said.

And, he keeps fighting back. Five years ago, Justin parents were told their son had less than six months to live.

"All along he's always beaten the odds. He doesn't follow the roadmap. He doesn't follow the plan. And, that's his fighting spirit and that's what got us to where we are today," Lori said.

That's why Justin was chosen by the St. Baldrick's Foundation as a national ambassador. St. Baldrick's is a nonprofit dedicated to raising money towards a cure for cancer. The foundation coordinates many of the fundraisers involving friends of family shaving their heads in support of a loved one undergoing chemotherapy.

"He's got an awesome fighting spirit and he's very personable," said Lori. "He's got a story to tell."

Justin will be asked to share his story to help create awareness about the need for neuroblastoma research and to help inspire other cancer victims.

"His willpower to just enjoy life, just enjoy the little things in life, helps us day by day," Jeff Miller, Justin's father said while tearing up. "I'm gonna start crying instead of her."

Justin is like an endless ball of energy. He goes to Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora at least once a week for blood draws, treatments or checkups. He flirts with all the nurses calling them his girlfriends.

"Out of all the kids I have, he has gone through more than most should ever have to," Jenn Brandenburg, primary nurse at Children's Hospital Colorado, said. "He always has a smile on his face. Even if he's feeling the worst, he's a trooper."

On the examination table, Justin spontaneously breaks out into a session of push-ups.

"He went down and he's doing push-ups because he wanted to fight cancer again," his father said.

The boy with the cancer fighting shoes is happy to talk with folks nationally through the St. Baldrick's Foundation.

"If you have friends with cancer and friends without cancer, they can help you get through cancer," Justin said.

He may not be a super hero, but it is clear the Justin is super. He's got the shoes to prove it.

"You can't fight cancer alone," Justin said.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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