By: Mattis Collier, 8th grade
There is always that person – the inspiring, funny, memorable, kind one we look up to. For many, I believe Justin Straus was “that person”. He touched the lives of many; people that knew and adored him and people that hadn’t even met him but knew his amazing story.
His best friend, James Becherer, for whom the race was honored is also that type of person. In honor of James’ birthday, I wanted to do something a bit more special than a t-shirt or some gift so I started thinking. While at another fundraiser for cancer, a light bulb went off in my head and I knew that somehow I wanted to raise money for the Chordoma Foundation in honor of James and Justin.
After a lot of thought and consultation with my parents, The Becherers, Heather and Steve Straus, “Jogging for Justin 5-K Partay” came to life. James and I then went out and solicited donations – Panera Bread donated bagels and pastries; Dunkin Donuts donated “munchkins” and coffee; and Harris Teeter a birthday cake, to name a few.
On April 18th 2009, one by one families and friends joined us at the American Tobacco Trail to celebrate James’ 14th birthday and Justin’s life. It was such a great experience, – running, seeing friends, telling stories about James and Justin, and simply honoring Justin’s life. Jogging for Justin raised about $8,056. Not only did we raise a lot of money, but we raised awareness about this awful disease. James and I believe Justin would have been proud because we are carrying out his message … we are persevering to cure chordoma.