Austen was the life of every party. With a quick wit, a generous smile, an incredible sense of humor, and an easygoing demeanor, he made people feel welcome and less inhibited. He played club soccer for about a decade and loved to mountain bike. He was healthy and fit and on the verge of launching into adulthood. In the spring of 2022, he began feeling strange and experienced slight numbness on the right side of his face. In the fall, just after starting his senior year of high school, he was diagnosed with DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma), a rare, pediatric brain cancer in the brainstem for which there is no cure. It is the most aggressive cancer in the least accessible part of the body. The only treatments available were palliative; the only viable clinical trials were outside of Miami. Austen underwent two neurosurgeries, 40 rounds of radiation over two courses, and four experimental chemotherapies through one official and two unofficial clinical trials. Even as he lost the ability to walk, to use his left hand, and to smile, Austen faced his illness with grit, bravery, humor, and mountains of grace. He often expressed how bad he felt for kids younger than him who had to endure the same disease. In his lowest moments, he found empathy for others. This fund in his honor will propel research, create clinical trials, and lead us closer to a cure.
About DIPG and DMG
DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) and DMG (Diffuse Midline Glioma) are rare and aggressive brain tumors that primarily affect children and young adults. Research on these devastating conditions is of utmost importance due to their highly aggressive nature and the lack of effective treatment options.
Advancements in understanding the underlying biology, genetics, and microenvironment of these tumors can potentially lead to breakthroughs in targeted therapies and innovative treatments. The pursuit of research in this field offers hope for improving patient outcomes, enhancing quality of life, and eventually finding a cure for these currently incurable brain tumors.
For more information regarding support, including wire transfers and gifts of securities, please reach out to Jon Eden, Director of Development, email@example.com or call 305-243-0538.