The folks that know North County High School sophomore Justin Bolton offer different reasons for why he is so special.
The general idea among all the responses, however, is the same: his humor and positive outlook, even when times get tough.
The North County High School unified tennis team player has battled medulloblastoma, a form of brain cancer, for nearly three years. But through it all, he has maintained a smile and has shown the strength that he has come to define him.
Because of how inspirational Bolton is to his family, friends, teachers and teammates, the Hanover resident was named October’s Army Impact Player of the Month. Justin was presented a trophy during a ceremony held Nov. 2, on the tennis courts of the school.
Lisa Magness, head coach of the school’s tennis team, nominated Bolton for the prestigious award.
“After battling brain cancer twice within the last two years, I felt he was very deserving,” Magness said. “It was a life and death situation this past April for him. He is now playing a high school sport and it has helped with his mobility, mental state and being able to feel like a normal high school teenager. He also has touched our entire school community with his never quit attitude and to live each day to the fullest.”
Justin was diagnosed with the cancerous brain tumor when he was 12-years-old. Medulloblastoma, the most common malignant type of childhood tumor, typically requires surgeries and chemotherapy treatments, all of which Justin endured. From the beginning, he showed courage and determination.
“He has been my rock through everything,” says Bolton’s mother, Adrianna Self. “Without him, I’d be lost. He told me when he was diagnosed, ‘We will get through this.’ That is something I carry with me daily.”
Bolton began playing with the team this season, and won a match at the county championship that helped the team reach the state tournament. Bolton and his teammates won the state championship in Division 2 at the Interscholastic Unified Sports, Unified tennis championship Nov. 1.
It is the first Unified Tennis county championship and state championship for North County. It is also the first Unified state title for the school, as well as its first state title since 2005.
When he’s not on the court, the 15-year-old enjoys watching football, playing video games and spending time with his family. He says he’s thankful to Magness for the nomination and that winning is an honor.
Although Justin’s journey with the disease isn’t over, as he is still in active treatment, he continues to fight and inspire others with his belief that “No matter how hard things are, don’t give up.”
Follow his journey on the Facebook page StayStrongLee, and learn more about the Clayville Railroad Outdoor Train Garden fundraiser to benefit Justin, scheduled for the first two weekends of December.
Linthicum veterans Memorial Day service
The seventh annual Linthicum Veterans Memorial Day Service will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Linthicum Veterans Memorial, on the corner of Camp Meade and Maple roads.
The service will include the Presentation of Colors by the USCYBERCOM and SNA/CSS Joint Service Color Guard, and a performance of the National Anthem by soloist MSGT Danielle Harmon of the United States Air Force. Approximately 31 new bricks will be dedicated at the ceremony, along with a POW/MIA ceremony honoring service members who were lost.
The service is held rain or shine. Visit www.linthicumveteransmemorial.org for more information.
GFWC Woman’s Club meeting
The GFWC Woman’s Club of Linthicum Heights will hold its general meeting Nov. 14 at 10:30 a.m. at its clubhouse, 110 N. Hammonds Ferry Lane.
Human trafficking will be discussed and a panel of four speakers will focus on different aspects of the problem. Del. Mark S. Chang will speak on the legislative aspect; Anne Arundel County Police Department Detectives Bernard Adkins and Daniel Dickey will address the law enforcement associated with this issue; and Beth Halley, liaison of The Samaritan Women, will explain the programs and services offered for victims of trafficking.
Food items for the North County Emergency Outreach Network will be collected at the meeting, as well as children’s hats and mittens. Call 410-969-7506 for more information.
Email your Linthicum news to Heather Vecchioni at firstname.lastname@example.org.