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Austin's Mom: Austin has always, always been very competitive, and always liked to go fast, always liked to race.
Austin: I drive the number 16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet in the Winston West Series.
Austin's Mom: He won at Irwindale, Roseberg, Salt Lake City, Utah. I think there might have been nine races and he won five of them.
Austin: I was driving a race car in Las Vegas three months ago approximately, and I was getting really irritated because I couldn’t breathe and I couldn’t, I couldn’t get a full breath, and I was getting, I was gasping for air you know.
Austin's Mom: Previous to even practicing, he was coughing, and he was, he just said something doesn’t feel right.
Austin: My girlfriend, Monday morning she said, you’re just not right, something’s wrong. You got to go to the ER. So they immediately took a chest X-ray and then came back and said....
Austin's Mom: They say it’s cancer. And....
Austin: It was squishing my esophagus and trachea and my left lung.
Dr. David Bodkin, Oncologist: And we did testing and found out that it was a lymphoma, and the type of lymphoma that it was is one of the most aggressive of all lymphomas, very rapidly growing. And because of that, we initiated chemotherapy right away.
Austin: I think it was about six inches or something, I don’t know, it was pretty big. I thought it was big, to be inside of me and me not knowing it.
Karen, RN: Because it’s such a rare and aggressive cancer, his treatment plan is also very aggressive. Pretty much anyway chemo comes, he’s getting it. Austin and I clicked pretty much right on, you know. Any time I would take care of him, he’d say I’m glad I got you, you’re my favorite nurse, you know. So we kind of all made a decision to make me his primary nurse.
Male: The first three months are very intensive, and the next three months hopefully will be a little bit less intense, and I will be able to do a lot more things.
Karen: Austin’s love is racing, getting behind the wheel of a race car and going around a circle really fast. Not my idea of a great time, but definitely his.
Austin's Mom: He thought he was going to race through the whole thing, you know until they said no, you’re not. And that was a tough day.
Dr. Bodkin: It may take up to one to two years of therapy. Our goal is to get him into remission, and then maintain that remission.
Austin's Mom: Whatever race is coming up, that’s the race he wants to be in. Not when he’s finished with treatment.
Austin: Everybody tells me that you know 90 percent of the battle is your attitude, so, you got to keep it up.
Karen: Austin was going to have a port placed, an implantable port, for access to give chemotherapy and to draw lab values. And they were going to put in an implantable chest port. I said, this isn’t going to work, because he’s going to get back in the car, and your straps go right here. We talked about it and decided to put it in his left arm, because he shifts with his right arm. Everyone said, Karen, he’s not going to race. Especially during treatment. I said, he’s going to race. We need to think ahead. I’m telling you right now, this guy is going to race.
Nurse: This morning we’re checking Austin’s platelets.
Nurse: Here’s the man of the hour.
Austin: My platelet count was 35,000 yesterday. We need it to be up around 60,000. That’s, that’s what the NASCAR doctors want.
Karen: Platelets are what help you clot. If you don’t have enough platelets and you’re going 140 around the track, you could bleed anywhere.
Austin: My body is trying to recover from a rough disease, and sometimes I don’t think about how tough it was, or you know how harsh cancer is. I just forget about that and I think well you know, I used to be able to get up every day to do this stuff, you know, it wasn’t a big deal. So you take that for granted I guess.
Karen: Anybody who battles cancer, in my opinion, is a hero. It’s tough.
Nurse: What did you think it was?
Austin: Oh, whooo! Eighty-eight! [laughing]
Dr. Bodkin: The blood count show that his bone marrow is recovering after his chemotherapy, so we’re happy that he’s in a remission now, and it looks like he’ll be able to race as he said he would.
Female: This was his goal and he met it. And that’s important.
Karen: I’m a little worried still. I’ll be standing there with his mom tomorrow, watching him go around the track with a little bit of hesitancy. We worked really hard to get him better, so I don’t want anything to happen to him.
Dr. Bodkin: I said that if they was able to do it, I’d be sure to be there, and here we are today.
Track Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, this driver has already won. He’s a cancer survivor, and I’ll tell you what. We don’t care what happens tonight, Austin, you are a winner. You are my hero, and I am (inaudible) glad to say that you’re in this race tonight, driving the NAPA, NAPA Parts and (inaudible) from El Cajon, Calif,, Number 16, Austin (inaudible).
Austin's Mom: Austin is my baby boy. When you see Austin smile, there’s always that five-year-old in there. As difficult as it is to watch Austin race, it was more difficult not to see him on the track.
Austin: I want to do everything I can. I want to live life to the fullest.
Austin's Mom: I’m just so glad that he has the chance to be back out there to start again. There’s going to be a lot more starts.