EYE ON KIDS: South Bend man raises money for kids with cancer
Austin McGowan was just three-years-old when he first went to Riley Children's Hospital with ulcerative colitis. After six years and three surgeries, he finally won that battle.
But at 13, he was diagnosed with two forms of leukemia.
"It was a big shot to learn," McGowan said. "When you get diagnosed with leukemia, it kind of rocks your entire world."
"Seeing your child get diagnosed with cancer is a parent's worst nightmare," said Kathy Basney-McGowan, Austin's mother.
Austin went through chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. For three months, he was confined to one room with filtered air. But he never lost hope.
"I told myself, I'm not going to die in this hospital," he said. "I'm going to beat this. I'm going to go through all this and go back to school, go back home, be with my family."
Seven years later, Austin is cancer free and looking forward to going to Holy Cross College.
"Here we are today and it's just so much fun rejoicing," his mother said. "I'm so thankful for everything that Riley has done for him and that I'm able to be home here with him."
"Riley Hospital has been amazing through all this," Austin said. "All the nurses and doctors are like family to me now. They took especially great care of me, I could be more grateful for them all."
Now Austin is giving back to those who helped him and encouraging other sick kids.
"I try to let them know, just keep fighting," he said. "Look at me, I did it. You can definitely do it. Just keep fighting, keep fighting the good fight and one day you're going to get out of that hospital bed."
Austin is raising money and awareness as part of Riley Children's Hope Happens Here campaign. If you want to help out and make a donation, you can do so at the link:http://rileykids.org/