The diagnosis of Austin Williams
In April 2010, doctors told Austin Williams - then 14 years old - news that would forever alter the future of his life. He was diagnosed with myosarcoma - an aggressive, malignant muscle tumor. His was found near his pelvis, and it was about as big as a baseball.
For months, Austin and his family did their best to try and fight cancer. His stepfather even brought in the Army - an organization he loves - to see if someone could come to the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and try to cheer him up.
The next day, six soldiers showed up inside Austin's hospital room and made him an honorary member of the Army. That was nearly two years ago.
Austin's current condition
Ever since the doctor first uttered the word "rhabdomyosarcoma," Austin's mother Daelyn Larche-Sigman knew it would be scary. Now, his condition is getting worse.
"It's now in a lymph node in his chest and in four or five different bones. They can see it in the scans now," she says as a tear rolls down her right cheek.
It's why it's so critical to get Austin's permit sooner rather than later. Call it, a means to a much more significant end.
"It's my dream to drive a '72 Chevelle," explains Austin. Why a '72? "I just really like the shape on the front - the headlights on a '72," he says.
Daelyn decided it was time to make that dream come true. But first, he had to get his driver's permit.
Over in one corner of the Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles office, Austin is feverishly filling out the last few questions on the first driver's permit test he's ever taken. Earlier in the day he told mom he felt "pretty sure" he would pass, but she's still clearly nervous.
"Fingers are crossed," she says. "Honestly, I never thought we'd get to this day," she says quietly.
When the DMV worker asks her if Austin wants to be an organ donor, Daelyn gives the question a though for just a moment and says she doesn't think so. A few more seconds pass before she finally lets out the kind of sigh that would tell anyone nearby that wasn't just another ordinary question at the DMV.
Minutes later, an employee at the DMV calls Austin to the front desk.
"You missed one back there and another one there. You passed," he says.
"Yew!" Daelyn exclaims.
Now comes the hard part. The dream car isn't here yet. It's why friends of Austin's have set up an online account to encourage donations. http://bit.ly/Rp1xg7.
As of Wednesday afternoon, strangers and acquaintances had already donated more than $8,000. News of his dream has started to gain traction on the Internet.
The Colorado Automobile Dealers Association is working on a number of leads as to where to find a '72 Chevelle. The Marketing Director of AutoNation told 9News on Wednesday he might have found a good one out of state. Both CADA and AutoNation believe it's only a matter of time.
That is a good thing, figures Daelyn. She's holding out hope that somehow Austin will be able to continue to fight. But she's also well aware of the odds. This has got to happen, she says.
Austin then hops in the front seat of her PT Cruiser and starts driving home from the DMV. Daelyn is in the passenger seat.
"Did you check your rear views?" she asks.
"Yep," replies Austin.
"Watch your speed limit, turbo boy," mom replies.
Email Chris Vanderveen firstname.lastname@example.org.