Justin “Macka” McRae was born and raised in Woburn, MA. He was 21 years young when he passed away in February 2020 to an accidental fentanyl overdose. At this time, Justin had been 5 months sober and continuing to fight his battle with addiction and mental illness.
Justin graduated from Woburn Memorial High School in 2016 and attended classes at UMass Lowell. He was an avid sports fan; growing up he played and excelled at many sports, including football, basketball, soccer, and baseball. His main passion was football, where he was a three-year starter on the Woburn Varsity Football team. He served as a Team Captain his senior year, where his teammates looked up to him as a great leader, and his coaches loved him. In March 2020 he was named as a starting defensive lineman on the Woburn High Football 2010’s All-Decade Team.
Justin had an entrepreneurial spirit and started his own car detailing business called “Mobile Magic.” Justin loved staying up to date with current events, especially politics. He was a deep thinker, enjoyed philosophy, and loved writing. He had a heart of gold and was always the first person to help someone in need.
Justin loved music of all kinds and was very talented at playing guitar. Justin enjoyed playing guitar for his family and friends, especially during his final months; he also spent time teaching friends how to play the guitar. He often acted as the “DJ” at family parties and on car rides.
During his time at Pine Tree Recovery in Portland, ME, Springhill Recovery in Ashby, MA, and Rockland Recovery in Dorchester, MA, Justin’s empathy and kind heart impacted the lives of so many others also in recovery. He was described by his peers and clinicians as intelligent, thoughtful, funny, and loving. At Springhill Recovery and Rockland Recovery, he took on leadership roles, led group meetings, and shared his experiences with others, empowering other people alongside him in recovery. Justin was loved by so many, even when it was hard for him to love himself. Macka’s Mission was founded in 2021 in hopes that Justin’s tragic story can have a meaningful impact on the lives of others.
Who We Are
We are Justin's family and we created Macka's Mission in his memory so that we can continue his legacy and make positive impacts in many people's lives, just as he would have done. We lost Justin to an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2020 and we are determined to help prevent others from doing the same.
As an organization, we strive to support individuals in recovery and spread awareness to end the stigma around addiction. Our efforts manifest mainly through hands-on work with community partners supporting those suffering from substance abuse and homelessness, as well as through fundraising events such as our annual 3v3 basketball tournament held at the Woburn Boys and Girls Club. All of the funds we raise go directly towards supporting individuals in recovery.
The Concussion Legacy Foundation
Amidst the devastation of Justin’s death, The McRae Family donated his brain to The Concussion Legacy Foundation where it was studied at Boston University. His brain was found to have white matter, which are the early signs of CTE.
Justin began playing football when he was just 7 years old. He started on the offensive and defensive lines throughout high school and rounded out his career as a Senior Captain. A big kid at 6’3”, Justin had hit after hit in games and at practice. He frequently complained of headaches and other concussion symptoms.
While there is no conclusive evidence yet to directly connect CTE to addiction, Justin’s brain, along with all brain donors, will be preserved and researched again as new data and new technology develops. If there’s anything we can do to live through our horrific loss, it is to help other people. The research done by The Concussion Legacy Foundation will help millions of people just like Justin. Together we can make a difference for the future.