By Ukee Washington
VINELAND, N.J. (CBS) — When a family faces a medical crisis, every penny helps. Justin Alvarez of Vineland just turned 11, and cancer is taking its toll, but friends are making sure his parents can stay home to care for him.
Jeffrey Alvarez of Vineland gave up his plumbing business a few months ago: “Basically I shut the business down.”
He’s providing 24/7 care for his son, Justin. “Our priority is basically focusing on my little guy,” said Jeffrey.
Justin was diagnosed with brain cancer nearly three years ago. He fought it and beat it. But in October 2011, “just 3 months ago, it came back and it came back in his brain stem,” said his mother, Kerry Alvarez.
The doctors say it’s inoperable.
Patricia Costa-Lake, Justin’s grandmother, said, “They have a mortgage, they have bills to pay, house insurance, all the stuff that you can’t give excuses for.”
Call them Team Justin, friends and family pulling together to pay those bills and help the Alvarez family. They’ve organized fundraisers and designed t-shirts inviting people to Join Justin’s Fight. There are bracelets, too.
Family friend Adryana Santiago, 13, said, “I’m selling the bracelets for a dollar, and I made about $130.”
Justin’s older brother Jeff said, “The support has been great with Justin.”
The money eases the burden on Justin’s mom, dad, and Justin’s best friend, Oscar the dachshund.
What impresses Justin’s family most is his faith in God.
“I got all I want. I got Jesus,” said Justin.
It’s a lesson everyone in this room remembers every day.
Stacy Morris, a family friend, said, “They are the strongest people I’ve ever come across in my life.”
“I’ve learned to have faith in something that’s not physically in front of you and keep fighting,” said Debbie Quarino, another family friend.
A beef and beer for Justin Alvarez is Saturday, January 28 at the Millville Elks Club, 1815 East Broad Street, Millville, NJ. It starts at 3 and ends at 7 p.m. Tickets for one adult cost $30, two adults $50, and children under 12 $15. Tickets may be purchased at the door.
People interested in buying tickets or simply donating can call Stacy Morris at (609) 501-6560 or email her at Irish17901@aol.com
RELATED LINK: Join Justin’s Fight