Bay Baseball Player Battles Cancer, Stays on the Diamond


Panama City, FL---Austin Summberbell is a junior varsity baseball player at Bay High School, who's had to fight off a very serious cancer challenge to continue on in his favorite sport.

And through that fight Austin seems as determined as ever to keep playing the game he loves so much.

Ever since he was a little kid, Austin Summerbell has loved one simple joy. Playing baseball. His mother Susanne Summerbell puts it this way. "Since he was about two years old, he wanted to be outside, throwing the ball, hitting."

Austin's father Steve adds to that. "Tee ball through coach pitch to kid pitch, travel ball, and now playing with the high school at Bay High. You know, watching your kid play ball, there's nothing better than that."

But on one mundane, regular day. A minor injury would lead to a major discovery. One that would take him away from his field of dreams.

"I went tubing out on the lake and I had fallen off and kind of gotten cut up in the ropes and got dragged behind." says Austin. "I had a big burn on both the back of my legs. I kind of felt it when I was looking at that and showed it to my parents. Didn't think it was anything serious at all."

"We went to the local dermatologist and they went in and took it out and sent it off for a pathology report. So you hope for the best but unfortunately, it came back as cancerous cells.

The diagnosis says his mother "Undifferentiated Rhabdomyosarcoma. At the very beginning, we weren't sure exactly what it was. There were different reports of what it might be, but it was a very scary time."

"You feel very hopeless." Austin's father Steve says. "You're there to support your child but at the same time, there's really nothing you can do but be there for them."

Just 14 years old, Austin couldn't help but fear the worst.

"It was scary." Austin says. "First couple of weeks, I was worried about is it anywhere else? Is it possible it could be death?

He was able to avoid chemo and instead go for surgery and treatments that have kept Austin cancer free, just as his father says, Austin intended.

"I was very proud of Austin because from the get-go, he said, 'I'm gonna beat this. I'm gonna get back to school. I'm gonna get back to my life.'"

"He wasn't just gonna give in and let it beat him." says Susanne. "He was gonna beat it."

But Austin's story doesn't end there. His battle with cancer believe it or not, led him and his family to the 2013 World Series. We'll explain all that in part two of Austin's story Tuesday night at 6 o'clock!


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