Services next week for Justin Stegemann

Staff Reports

Services are April 9-10 for Justin Stegemann, a former Gardnerville resident, who died March 29, 2007, in Avon, Ind., at home with his family. He was 17.

Born Jan. 11, 1990, Justin was diagnosed with stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare and untreatable form of brain cancer, on April 9, 2003.

In a letter to well-wishers, Justin's uncle, Robert Stegemann, said the family had worked to get him the best care possible.

"Unfortunately there are no effective cures only painful and expensive treatments," he wrote.

Efforts to keep Justin alive resulted in several surgeries and painful treatments.

"He is one of the coolest kids I know and also one of the nicest people you could ever meet," Robert wrote. "He has not once been bitter or mad at anyone for what has been afflicted upon him. The definition of hero in Webster's is 'A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.' Justin was truly a hero in every definition of the word."

During the course of the disease, Justin and his father David met and interacted with several famous people.

"Justin played catch with Derek Jeter, met with George Steinbrenner and the Yankees went back stage and hung out with Conan O'Brien, hung out with Dale Jarrett at Sonoma Speedway in California and even had dinner with George and Laura Bush at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and that only scratches the surface."

Robert Stegemann said Justin wanted to die at home.

"He was home, where he wanted to be, with his mom and dad at his side. The end was tough but he is one tough kid, he never stopped fighting."

Services are to take place at Conkle Funeral Home at U.S. 36 and State Road 267 in Avon, Ind.


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