“This is another opportunity to gather Justin’s supporters and Justin’s friends. Ones that loved him and were touched by him all together in one spot where we can all rejoice and think about him, and we try to do this at least two or three times a year,” said Justin’s Wegner’s Dad Ed Wegner.
On July 16th at the Seven Bridges Ice Arena, the Jwegstrong foundation hosted a bags tournament to honor Justin Wegner, a 2015 graduate of Naperville Central who lost his battle to cancer in July of 2019. Despite being three years since his passing, friends, family members and well-wishers are always ready to take the time to honor Justin’s memory.
“So it’s the first one that we’ve had, it’s pretty exciting so we have 64 teams. It’s in honor of Justin Wegner who was a huge part of the Naperville community and we’re celebrating his life and journey,” said Jwegstrong Board of Director Mark Nowak.
The tournament featured 64 teams’ single elimination, followed by the championship as a 3-game series. The winners were Tom Trepanier and Colin Brauer who took home $500. There was also a silent auction where somebody had a chance to take home a guitar signed by Brett Eldredge as well as many participants getting to purchase the boards that were used during the competition. Whether they came to play for prizes or for fun, it was a night for everyone to show their support for Justin and the impact he still carries.
“It’s been proven how many lives Justin touched in his short span. I’m a sociable guy. I always have been, and Justin just took it to another level. It’s just another way that proves to us how much he meant to so many people,” said Ed.
“It means the world to us. It means that everyone constantly thinks of Justin as we miss him so much and they’re here to show their support for us and our family and for the foundation,” said Justin’s Mom, Cathy Wegner.
The bags tournament is just one of several fundraisers that have been held by Jwegstrong in recent years. In 2021, they hosted their first dinner under the lights, along with a Birthday celebration for Justin every February. The money raised in each event goes towards Lurie’s children’s hospital, pediatric and DSRCT cancer research. It also goes towards four athletic scholarships set up by the foundation for athletes who embody Justin’s humble and kind character. Three of them go to athletes at Naperville Central and one towards the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where Justin played baseball in 2016 prior to his diagnosis. Being able to raise money to help others and celebrate a life, warms the hearts of the Wegner household.
“The fear that we have as parents of a child that is lost is that someday somebody’s going to forget about him and that’s really our whole goal is to keep his memory alive.”
With future events continuing down the road, this night was another memorable one that Justin’s friends and family will cherish.
Naperville News 17 Patrick Codo Reports