Austin Keith (2008-2014)
Austin was such a happy, silly boy. He had the most infectious laugh and would light up a room just by coming in it. He loved to grab noses and pull ears. He loved to drop toys and just laugh and laugh until his face turned red. He loved to snuggle with mommy on the couch or with daddy in his chair. His interests involved his toys and watching sporting events. One of his favorite toys were his pegs. He would put them in the foam holes on his board, drop them on the floor, and hold onto them and spin them in his hands. He would play with about anything really. He would hold water bottles and just spin them in his hands. He loved watching the OKC Thunder play basketball either on the TV or in person When going to the arena to watch a live game he would take what we call the 2nd quarter nap. How he would sleep through that I have yet to figure out. He even enjoyed watching football and hockey.
His battle with Ependymoma started Nov 2009. He had a complete resection and went through photon radiation. He developed an infection after surgery that required him to have shunts and he lost the ability to stand, sit, walk, and eat. He had to have a g-tube put in as well. He went through physical therapy, occupational therapy and feeding therapies. In Dec 2011 he had his first recurrence and had it removed Jan 2012. He then went through Proton radiation to the tumor bed. He was doing so well and making advances in his therapies. He could stand with assistance with his braces, he could move himself in his wheelchair independently, and he was starting to chew food such as fruit, beans, cereal and rice, potatoes, cookies, and his favorite, peanut butter cups. In July 2014 what we thought was delayed radiation necrosis turned into a radiation induced glioma. We lost him on Dec 5, 2014. He fought hard in those 5 years. And he is missed so much on a daily basis.
Austin’s experience changed our lives. We learned not to take things for granted. We learned to love deeply and to never give up hope. It brought us close to people we never imagined and we met so many people because of it. He has inspired others by loving and enjoying life no matter what is thrown at you. We will not be able to know how much he understood about his illness, but one thing for sure is he would smile and laugh through it all. We are now more aware of great foundations that are determined to finding a cure for childhood cancer, such as The Tanner Seebaum Foundation, St. Baldrick’s, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, and Team Campbell Foundation.
He was born in Portsmouth, VA in 2008. We moved to Oklahoma in June 2009 where he was raised in Moore, Oklahoma.
He was born Jan. 23, 2008
Entered heaven on Dec 5, 2014
Age at death 6 years old