Image courtesy: CaringBridge
Like many teenage boys, Austin Williams is filled with big dreams, with joining the Army at the forefront of his aspirations. But unlike the vast majority of 14-year-olds, Austin is already fighting a life-altering battle. In April, he was diagnosed with myosarcoma when doctors found a baseball-sized, malignant muscle tumor near his pelvis.
"I still can't believe he has cancer," Austin's mother, Daelyn Larche-Sigman, wrote in July. "You just never think it will hit this close to home. Thankfully, we have such a supportive community and an incredible group of friends and family who surround us with love! For this I am grateful!"
Just before Christmas, the Army learned that an aspiring future Soldier was fighting for his life at the Rocky Mountain Hospital in Denver, Colorado. That's when troops in the Army recruiting office in nearby Aurora sprung into action. As KUSA-TV's Jeffrey Wolf and Chris Vanderveen wrote on 9News.com, six uniformed volunteer warriors showed up at the hospital to make Austin an honorary Soldier, presenting him with a certificate and dog tags.
"This has just made me very happy," Austin said. "I really love the Army. I just wanted to join the Army for so long."
It is too easy for some Americans to take our all-volunteer fighting force for granted. Hopefully, the compassion displayed by the U.S. Army to brighten the spirits of our nation's newest honorary Soldier reminds us of our military's extraordinary sacrifices and the ultimate fragility of life.
This 14-year-old boy, who should be playing ball, going to school, and chasing girls at his age, is in the midst of a struggle few teens have experienced. He is just past the midway point of an intense 54-week cancer treatment regimen that could break even the toughest of grown men. But as his mom wrote, Austin Williams is Army strong.
"This, too, shall pass...He is a STRONG young man! I hope in a few years we can look back and say 'WOW! What a ride!' And for now, I will cherish every moment with him and the rest of our family."
Image courtesy: 9NEWS.com
Note: You can follow Austin Williams' journey on the CaringBridge website.