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BLOG: Brave teen searches for dying wish

4:07 PM, Nov 13, 2012   |    comments
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It's with that in mind that I reintroduce you to the story of a teenager named Austin Williams. His story first came my way two years ago when a small group of soldiers walked into his hospital room and offered him an honorary membership in the Army.

We ran the story on Christmas Eve. I still cry when I see the story. Here's the story, http://on9news.tv/T1Y9bN.


Austin has talked about [the Army] for years," his stepfather told us at the time. The soldiers came armed with gifts, with dog tags, and with a request. They wanted Austin to keep fighting. 

And for the next two years, that's precisely what he did.

Yet, there are no fairy tales about cancer. It is brutal. It is uncaring. And it is, far too often, relentless. Recently, I got an email from a friend of Austin. The cancer was still there, and it was doing its best to keep the 16-year-old from seeing his 17th birthday.

It's that bad. Doctors say it's now terminal.

Why him? What had he ever done to deserve this? As a relatively new father, I couldn't help but think of his parents. So, I called his mom.

And that's when she told me about the plan.

It has to be a '72 Chevrolet Chevelle, she told me. Not a '71 or a '73. Austin wants to own a '72 Chevelle before, well, you know. Friends were already raising money here, http://bit.ly/Rp1xg7, here.

Recently, we were there when Austin finally managed to get his driver's permit. It was a little surreal when a clerk at the DMV asked Austin what his hair color is. He's bald. His mom swears it used to be blonde. There was also a moment when that same clerk asked Austin's mom if her son wanted to be an organ donor. Ten seconds after she quietly and politely said, "No, I don't believe so," she let out the kind of sigh that only a mother could make.

This is all happening so fast.

"It'd probably take me a long time to save up [enough money] and wait to rebuild [a Chevelle,]" said Austin right before we left. You get the impression that, if he had enough time, he'd build it right there in his mother's garage.

I really wish that would happen, but I'm so worried that time is not a luxury anyone diagnosed with stage IV cancer is likely to enjoy.

If you know of anyone with a '72 Chevelle for sale, please let me know. If you know of anyone who might be able to help rebuild one, let us know.

To be honest, I have no idea if we can even help in this situation, but I figured it was at least worth a shot. Austin certainly deserves so much more than to be a recipient of fate's occasionally cruel ways.

EDITOR'S NOTE: 9NEWS will air Austin's story Wednesday at 9 and 10 p.m. If you think you have a lead on a '72 Chevelle for Austin, please email Chris Vanderveen at chris.vanderveen@9news.com

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