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In Memory of Justin Whitehead

Justin Whitehead was a thirty-two-year-old born and raised in Dallas, Texas. His education began at the U.S. Air Force Academy where he attended for two years. During this time, Justin played football, rugby and pole vaulted for the track team.

Justin WhiteheadAfter leaving the military, Justin completed his industrial engineering degree at the University of Texas at Arlington. After college, Justin worked for a consulting firm in Austin and continued to play rugby. It was there that Justin met and married his wife of two years.

Justin’s career and athletics required extensive travel, including an ill-fated assignment in New York City on 9-11. Justin worked in the building adjacent to the World Trade Center and was forced to run from the collapsing towers. Four months later, after surviving the events of 9-11, Justin was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig’s disease".  ALS is a fatal neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness resulting in paralysis and death.

The disease began as a series of muscle twitches in the shoulder and noticeable weakness in the right hand. As the disease progressed, the muscle weakness increased and propagated to the rest of his body. Consequently, Justin was forced to retire. During retirement, Justin spent the majority of his time tutoring math to pediatric cancer patients. Unfortunately, Justin’s health continued to deteriorate and robbed him of his ability to write and walk. Justin condition continued to progress resulting in severely limited mobility, requiring help in dressing, eating, bathing and other miscellaneous daily activities. In addition, Justin’s vocal cords and tongue suffered paralysis and rendered speech difficult and unintelligible. We lost Justin to ALS on January 22, 2007 and continue to miss him every day.