Hometown: Santa Clarita, CA Game: UCLA vs. Arizona State
Austin is a “really strong kid” who has already “withstood more than what most adults ever in their lifetime have to go through,” says his mother, Cortney. At age 2, Austin contracted E. coli and developed hemolytic uremic syndrome – a condition that burst his red blood cells and clogged his kidneys.
“They put him on 24-7 dialysis. They gave him seven different units of transfusions. It was just a very scary time,” says his father, Benjamin. “He got to be in a pretty critical state. They kept him on dialysis for about the next 14 months until they decided that he needed a kidney transplant, at which time my brother donated his kidney to him at UCLA.”
Adds Austin: “I remember going through a lot. A lot. Like I remember doing a bunch of shots, a bunch of tubes and stuff like that.”
Austin kept his fun-loving spirit throughout the process and never complained, his mother says. In fact, Austin brought a smile to people’s faces every day at UCLA – and still does when he returns.
“They just really like me because they are so used to me coming to the hospital, like, ‘Wow, there’s Austin!’ Because I’m like super good,” he says.
The challenge for Austin now is coping with the side effects of the numerous medications he takes, his father says. Despite everything he has endured, though, Austin continues to bring joy to those around him.
UCLA is honored to recognize Austin as Kid Captain. His courage and spirit is an inspiration to us all. Congratulations, Austin!