Feb 13, 2013, 2:14 PM EDT
Entering his fourth season as a member of the James Madison University baseball team, senior co-captain Bradley Shaban took the time to reflect on the impact that another member of the JMU Diamond Dukes’ family has had on the team. That fourth-year team member is 10-year-old Justin Brown. In 2009 the James Madison baseball team adopted Justin Brown of Haymarket, Virginia as an honorary team member through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation. Justin was diagnosed at the age of 2 years, 3 months with a Craniopharyngioma brain tumor. On February 25, 2005 he had the tumor, which was the size of a lemon, removed at the Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. The tumor had been pushing on his right optic nerve, which has left him legally blind in his right eye. Unfortunately, Craniopharyngioma brain tumors have a very high reoccurrence rate. Justin has needed two additional 10-hour surgeries because of regrowth. During the most recent surgery, it was determined that some of the regrowth was on his carotid artery. This is a very dangerous area, so it was left untouched. Yearly MRI’s have shown no new tumor growth since his last procedure. Justin is currently a member of his local Little League team and the Diamond Dukes’ biggest fan. In the words of Bradley Shaban…
Justin Brown over the past four years has had a tremendous impact on not only my life but the lives of our JMU baseball family. His strength and will to fight has been an unbelievable motivator in our lives. Justin was just a child when he was approached with more hardship than anyone should ever have to face in a lifetime. Justin’s fight puts everything for this team in perspective. We may have a rough day on the field, but that cannot even begin to compare to what Justin has gone through. This 10-year-old kid is one of the strongest people I have ever met. It is amazing to feel the increase in energy and love of the game everyone gets when Justin is at the ballpark. Then, to see Justin out on the field throwing before games; it is wonderful to see the way his skills have progressed over four years. No matter in everyday life or baseball, Justin is going to be a fighter and hard worker.
For more from Shaban on Justin Brown’s impact visit JMUSports.com. You can also find previous features about Brown’s impact here. Information on Justin Brown Day, April 21, when JMU hosts Georgia State can be found by visiting the Dukes’ Baseball page here.
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