That was Isaiah Austin’s chosen motto after he found out nine months ago that he has Marfan syndrome—a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue—which put an abrupt end to his dreams of playing professional basketball just days before he would have heard his name called as a late-first-round NBA draft pick.
A rather astute motto: Even with one dream crushed, the 21-year-old Baylor University student and former center quickly found the silver lining to his circumstances and poured his heart and soul into a new goal: bringing awareness to the disorder that affects him and so many others, and using his star status and the attention brought by the very public diagnosis to spur attention.
“I just know that there’s always a positive side to every situation in life so I’m really just keeping my head up high and walking with God in this amazing journey that he set me on,” Austin tells The Root.
In the past nine months, Austin has fully immersed himself in the Marfan community through the Marfan Foundation, while also keeping up with his schoolwork, supporting Baylor’s basketball team as an assistant coach and starting his own foundation, while working on a book tilted Dream Again, slated to come out in June.
For the effort he has put in over the past nine months, even amid coping with the loss of his professional basketball career, the Marfan Foundation is preparing to present Austin with the Hero With a Heart Award at its Heartworks Gala on April 16 in New York.
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SOURCE: The Root