Nothing will keep him from college

Justin Ferrene

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Justin Ferrence, 2009-2010 ambassador

Pamela Duminske went into labor 11 weeks before her due date. She gave birth to a premature baby boy named Justin. Immediately after Justin was born he needed medical attention. He was having trouble breathing and the doctors feared other medical complications could arise.

The doctor’s determined Justin needed more specialized care, so he was transported to The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton’s Regional Level III Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Justin stayed in the NICU for three weeks where he was on a ventilator and monitored closely.

“I had a sense of comfort in the NICU because I knew Justin was well taken care of by the nurses and staff,” says Pamela.

Pamela noticed Justin was not growing like he should be at 10 months old. “Justin was not crawling and it was difficult for him to sit up,” A CT scan was performed. Soon after, Justin was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects muscle movement and control. In some cases, cerebral palsy can affect speech and cognitive development. Due to the lack of muscle control, many cerebral palsy patients use a wheelchair, or need assistance to walk. Justin’s prognosis was filled with extensive surgeries and lots of physical therapy.

Justin is seen in the neurology department, the cerebral palsy clinic and the orthopedic department at Dayton Children’s. Daniel Lacey, MD, has worked with Justin for several years.

“Dr. Lacey has improved Justin’s health tremendously by prescribing a baclofen pump that helps with Justin’s tight muscles,” says Pamela.

Justin has been in a wheelchair since kindergarten, but this has not deterred his “go-getter” attitude and in 2008, Justin graduated from Xenia High School.

“Justin had the ability to look beyond his wheelchair and set goals that he knew he could accomplish even if he had to work twice as hard as the other students,” says Pamela.

Last year Justin attended Clark State University and passed his courses with a 4.0 average. In a speech communications class, Justin had an assignment to give a speech in front of the entire class and be graded on performance. The professor told Justin that he did not have to do the speech, but Justin was determined to do the assignment just like the other students. He worked very hard and practiced for hours; he gave the speech in front of the entire class and received an A.

Today Justin is 20 years old and still focuses on graduating from college. “I had to take a break from college due to financial difficulties and health problems, but I am determined to become a teacher one day,” says Justin.

“Dayton Children’s caters specifically to child’s needs. This always made us feel right at home,” says Pamela.



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