Here at Goldfish, we love hearing about former students. Whether they’ve moved on to competitive swimming or a good freestyle swim in Lake Michigan, the stories always remind us of why we’re here. This is the touching story of one little boy who’s gone on to become a real-life superhero.

When you ask our instructors at Goldfish Swim School – Birmingham about Julian (also known as “King Julian”), their eyes light up. At four-years-old, Julian mastered the backstroke in the Glider+ class, not to mention a mean cannon ball. With big brown eyes and an infectious laugh, Julian was a normal, happy and healthy kid who loved playing the piano, movies, books, lightsabers, and dreamed of starting a rock band one day.

In just an instant, everything changed for Julian and his family. He awoke one morning in November 2010 disoriented and visibly ill. After being rushed to the ER, doctors discovered a mass in his brain later diagnosed as an atypical brain stem glioma.

Over the course of just a couple months, Julian endured four major brain surgeries to alleviate his symptoms, and two minor surgeries routine to cancer treatment. After two more months of emergency radiation therapy at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Julian’s family was informed the disease had spread to other parts of his brain and spine. Despite the odds, Julian summoned his superhero strength through experimental spinal radiation treatment and returned home to Bloomfield Hills to start chemotherapy at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. When asked by nurses and doctors to point at a pain chart ranging from smiley faces to sad faces, Julian defiantly answered, “I’m impervious to pain.”

Photo of Julian with KidsUnfortunately, with no known cause or cure, Julian could not overcome the relentless disease and lost his battle on July 3, 2011, just two weeks after his 5th birthday. Inspired by Julian’s strength and spirit, Julian’s friends and family turned his fight and his legacy into the Team Julian Foundation, which has raised more than $250,000 for progressive research in hopes of beating pediatric brain tumors for good.

We at Goldfish are joining that fight. On Saturday, August 17, we’re bringing together all staff for a special swim meet at Goldfish Swim School – Rochester. Each Goldfish location will be asked to raise at least $250 for the foundation, but we’re hoping we can raise even more!

Photo of Julian in Superhero CostumeWant to help? You can donate to the cause right now (scroll to the bottom of the page for the link). Together, we can make a difference for the kids and family facing this huge fight. Let’s do it for all the little superheroes. King Julian would be so proud!

To learn more about Julian’s incredible story, watch this inspiring video now: