My little brother, Gregory Toler, is always by my side. He shared his love for Justin (his tallest nephew) and took my breath away with this poem he just wrote today. Love you, Greg!!! Justin loved you too!!
Happy Birthday Justin
As I glance at the artwork on my office wall I think of the young man who keeps inspiring us all
World Peace is what he asked and wished for at the age of four
Not a toy or a game from the store
He waltzed through life with effortless joy
As he grew to be a giant in many ways from such a little baby boy
The detail of his work is truly evident with each and every stroke of his brush
And he did it all with without making a hush
Unmatched talent was displayed in everything he did
And we are so fortunate it has been shared and not hid
What an immense impact he has had from the start
And we can always see him through his immeasurable art
Happy Birthday Justin as we celebrate your excellence and your special day
And your wish will come true for that we all pray
Love Uncle Greg
OK- it’s Olympic time and I was trying to block it all because we all know what sport Justin would be watching. His idol swimmer was Cullen Jones ( the African American Olympian) swimmer who did not make it this year- but has in the past. Regardless, he always gave Justin hope that you can do anything!! I have mentioned it before that Justin got a lot of flack for being a swimmer instead of football or basketball player. People used to tell Justin that swimming was not a sport or black people don’t swim… However, even though Justin was usually one of a few blacks at most swim meets he attended he never let that bother him or stop him from pursuing his passions.
Today, my friend Valerie Williams told me that she thought of Justin Carr World-Peace as she watched Michael Phelps do his thing with the butterfly stroke. That was Justin’s favorite too. Then I remembered clearly that relay race from the 2012 when the USA swim team was on the verge of losing until Jason Lezak made the miraculous comeback and won the gold and Phelps got another medal. Justin was beaming with pride. Well, when Justin was on the Rose Bowl swim team from 3-7 grade, Jason Lezak trained with the team. They had a competition to write a letter to Jason as he entered the Olympic trails and Justin won the contest. So, I had to dig ( not to deep) and I found the picture and the letter!!
Oh Justin Carr World-Peace you will always be our butterfly. P.S. It was also my friend Bill Funderburk who first told me at a swim meet that ( Your kid made it to the Junior Olympics) I had no sense of times or ??? Justin just wanted to swim. So at age 10, Justin Carr World-Peace got his Jr, Olympic silver medal. Go Rio!! Photo credits Darrell Carr
And I can’t forget to mention that Justin loved the movie “Pride” that his talented Uncle Paul Hall produced about the “The determined Jim Ellis swim team for troubled teens at the Philadelphia Department of Recreation who won the season” Jon Carroll you know a little about that team too… It’s all about PRIDE!
From Darrell as written on August 12, 2016
August 12 ·
Watching the swimming events automatically makes me think of Justin Carr World-Peace. He won a medal in the Junior Olympics in 2006. I did what most parents would do, hoping & wishing that Justin would swim for the USA in 2016. 8 years ago Paul Hall a friend of ours produced a movie called “Pride”. That movie gave Justin so much inspiration, motivation & pride to swim even better. Then there was Colin Jones, a black swimmer for USA in 2012. This gave Justin a real hero to look up to. When Simone Manual won the gold in the 100 freestyle in Rio, I was elated for her coming from behind to win just like in “Pride”. Go Simone! Continue to inspire youth around the world. And be that positive role model for them also.
When your mind is all over the place with anticipation and then you get a message of hope that changes every little thing!!!!
Apryl Sims the operator of a wonderful healthy restaurant in Los Angeles ” Simply Wholesome ” http://www.simplywholesome.com/
sent me a picture and message. I have not seen her in a few years. She said she still wears her JCWWP turquoise
bracelet – and has not taken it off since the day that I gave it to her. She said she never will!! She said this art mural called “The Embrace” by the incredibly gifted artist Patrick Henry Johnson! is of her hand and she said: ” He lives in our hearts forever” .
A gift of a compassionate embrace that keeps on giving on the eve of Justin Carr World-Peace 20th bday…
Justin was so proud when he was in 10th grade and a 12th grader Asha (an incredible dancer ) asked him if he would join the Dance Show and Dance with her!!! Justin and Bella are holding Asha up in the picture below !!!
I can’t make this stuff up!!!!! I was just scrolling through my thousands of pictures and I came across this one with Justin and Bella( another talented dancer) ( holding Asha) – a mere 5 minutes before I got Apryl’s message !!!!! I sent it back to her.
This Little Light of Mine, I’m Going to Let Him Shine
As most of you have witnessed over the past 3.5 years sans Justin, Darrell and I tuck away the pain in our heart—every waking hour—every single day. We cycle through the days, week’s months, holidays and milestones and we hold each memory of our joy with Justin close to our hearts. This will continue for a lifetime and will repeat, day after day, and month after month. So, it’s not unusual that for over a year, I have been cautiously anticipating this day—Justin’s birthday—September 13th. He would have been 20 years old… Justin was and will always be our greatest gift. He is our guiding light!
Happy 20th Birthday honey!
The other day, I went to my usual nursery—where I am known as the flower lady. Before I got out of the car, I spotted a pot full of flowers that were almost in the shape of a round cake. I knew at that moment that I did not have to look any further. I motioned to the gardener to pick out the two prettiest plants. I asked him: What type of flowers they were. He cheerfully said: “mums.” I thought to myself, how appropriate— because in England “mum” also means mother and we know that “Mother’s knows best” and I will always be “Justin’s Mom aka Mum.”
After he loaded the flowers into my car, I started up the engine. The song blasting over the radio was: “ Tears from Heaven.” I know you all remember that song by Eric Clapton. Well, I don’t have to tell you what I did next … I first wanted to switch stations right away to spare the tears, but then I caught myself as I bravely listened intensely to the words. Subsequently, I let the tears flow. That was a good thing.
Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven
Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?
I’ll find my way through night and day
‘Cause I know I just can’t stay here in heaven
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging, please
Beyond the door, there’s peace I’m sure
And I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven…
We are so grateful that we have so many people who are wrapping their hands around us. We have learned that there are many things and encounters that help give us hope—hope for a future that includes embracing life again. So as we celebrate my baby, with the well-received gifts… Don’t just read, take heed following is a life-saving message…
GIFT #1 “The Good Samaritan”
Last year, a brave and determined stranger, Laurel Travis, approached me at a seminar. She said: “ You do not know me, but I know all about your great loss. I work for a Cardiologist and we saw Justin’s Story on television. To spare other families from going through an unimaginable loss of losing a child, I started “Safe Heart Screening ”, a heart screening foundation, in honor of your son. I was dumbfounded. Through Laurel’s dedication, research, and good work, she introduced us to the new state of the art life-saving ECG/EKG machine. It’s a handheld device (blue no doubt) that can identify young athletes who are at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. “CardeaScreen is a convenient, hand-held electrocardiographic (ECG) device, a diagnostic tool that measures and records the electrical activity of the heart. Specifically attuned to the normal characteristics of the athletic heart, CardeaScreen helps physicians who are conducting Pre-Participation Exams (PPE) identify athletes with abnormal heart conditions who may be at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. CardeaScreen helps identify young athletes who are at risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).”
In hindsight, Darrell and I wished that we had this knowledge in our hands so that we could have possibly known about Justin’s condition and spared his untimely death…
GIFT #2 Save the Date; Save a Life
Justin attended St. Marks School for Kindergarten and he was also an acolyte and in the choir up until 6th grade at the church. They are opening up their doors for this special event. Thank you.
Safe heart Screening http://www.safeheartscreening.com
will be doing ECG screenings for girls and boys age 12-25 in honor of Justin. It will be hosted at Saint Marks Episcopal Church in Altadena, CA on Sunday, October 16, 2016, from 10:00 to 4:00 p.m. Please go to the SafeHeart Screening website to sign up !
The actual test takes about 16 seconds with an allotment of 15 minutes for the process with each person. $25.00 donation for screening.
Gift #3 Keep Smiling for Justin
Debra Johnson aka the SMILE Lady is a member of our Community. She knew Justin very well. SMILE is her acronym for Support, Motivate, Invest, Love, and Educate. And Johnson is on a mission, one “to promote all aspects of SMILE and to spread a little joy,” she said. Tune into the Pasadena Community Network Channel 32, Arroyo 32, for more about the heart-testing event. “I want to help your child tap into their inner SMILE and purpose. After all, we were all born to SMILE and we’re all destined to leave this place better than we found it,” Johnson said.
This journey that we are on is sometimes difficult, but as I looked at the homework assignment that Justin did in the 3rd grade tonight,
I know that I too will continue to transform from a chrysalis and find catalysts that can move me towards finding my voice and wings once again.
Justin is my butterfly. I will never forget him. I know he wants me to accept his metamorphosis and to find new ways to live. As we emerge from the darkness and seek inner peace, I will continue to try and love this life, and live bravely, faithfully and as cheerfully as I can with Justin—our guiding light you along the way.
“This little light of mine, I’m going to let him shine, let him shine let him shine…”
Miss you always and love you forever!! Happy Heavenly Birthday Justin.
Visit our website to make a donation to help kids or to learn more about Justin
In Loving Memory of Justin Carr, by Susan and Darrell Carr