Coach takes fight against cancer to new heights
Packers fold parachutes as instructors fit this group in harnesses for the jump of a lifetime.
“It's something that not a lot of people get to do. It's taking a chance,” Austin Roden said.
After being diagnosed with brain cancer for the second time in four years, Austin decided to take his fight to a new level. Fourteen-thousand feet above ground, to be exact.
Austin lives in Chattanooga and is a football coach at East Ridge High School.
“Are you ever scared?”
“Honestly, I'm scared of jumping today,” Austin said, “but the cancer hasn't made me nervous. It's just a process of life.”
The 24 year old has one round of chemotherapy treatments left. He's completed seven rounds already.
For him, it isn't the pain or nausea from the chemicals treating his body that he hates most, but seeing how this disease can affect others.
“You wish you could go in there and take the cancer out for them and have it for them,” he said.
That's why Austin is teaming up with the for-profit group Saxon/Hart. Together they're using social media to reach as many people as they can to bring awareness to the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) population.
“Seeing them support Austin when they don't even know him, and they're now loving him and they're Team Austin. #Austin, #BlankCancer and they love seeing his story evolve with us,” Saxon/Hart President Heidi Burkhart said.
Doctors aren't able to operate on the six tumors growing inside Austin's brain, which serves as motivation to make best of the life he's barely had the chance to live.
“You only live once, I know that's kind of cliché but really, you only live once. You never know when it's your time to go. If you've got the opportunity, take it,” Austin said.
An opportunity to save lives as Austin fights for his own.
Burkhart and another team member from Saxon/Hart joined Austin and his girlfriend of four years, Leslie Hixson for Tuesday's skydive at Chattanooga Skydive Company.
Next week, Austin is taking part in some new research using stem cells.
Follow Austin's journey or take part in his campaign by using #BlankCancer and following Austin on Instagram.