High school wrestler's smackdown on cancer

January 31, 2011 6:09:01 PM PST
Austin Wortley can't wait to take his biggest challenger down to the mat.

Austin has always been your typical All-American kid - the star athlete with the full head of blonde hair.

But this past month, the Harriton High School junior learned he'd have to wrestle his toughest opponent yet.

"You kind of get used it, you kind of get used to having cancer," Austin said.

The diagnosis was Hodgkins Lymphoma.

The 16-year-old must now face 12 weeks of intense chemotherapy.

As a show of solidarity, Austin's wrestling team brought out the clippers. One by one, they each shaved their heads.

"It's really cool. It's always in the back of my head. I wake up and see I don't have any hair, but they chose to cut [theirs] to show 'we're here for you, Austin,'" he said.

This team is a family, both figuratively and literally. Austin's older brother Connor is the team's captain and his sister Allison is the team manager.

"You don't want to see your family sick and it's not like a little cold, get over it; he has cancer," Allison said.

When he isn't in the hospital, Austin makes it a point to still come cheer on the team.

He is their biggest fan, as they are his.

"Him being there and even just sitting on the sideline if he can, it's a great thing to see. You don't have anything compared to what he's got, so why not push a little bit harder," Connor said.

And Austin will keep pushing till he's cured and can wrestle again.

"I can't wait till next year to really hit it hard and finish off my high school career wrestling," Austin said, adding one final takedown towards his toughest opponent, "I don't see it stopping me."


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