Thursday, July 31, 2014
- by B.B. Branton
“If chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant don't work then I guess that’s it. I don’t want to die, but I am not afraid of dying and there is a big difference.
“The Lord is taking care of me and I know I’ll go to heaven when I die.”
-- East Ridge Volunteer Wide Receivers Coach Austin Roden
Something was wrong. Seriously wrong. But Austin Roden did not
Two weeks ago, his hands were numb and he had severe
headaches and after some tests the doctor gave him the news he did not
expect to hear.
The brain cancer he had beaten three years earlier had
returned in the form of six tumors.
“I was in shock, started crying and told myself ‘I don’t
want to hear this,’” said Roden who works for Lipsey Logistics and is also a
volunteer wide receivers coach for his alma mater, East Ridge.
Eight Treatments: Roden, 24, has finished the first of eight chemotherapy
treatments as he will spend every other week in the hospital until mid-November.
“If the chemo doesn’t work, then the doctors will try a bone
marrow transplant,” said Roden who played football, soccer and basketball for
the Pioneers graduating in 2009.
“If the bone marrow transplant doesn’t work then I guess that’s
it. I don’t want to die, but I am not afraid of dying and there is a big
“The Lord is taking care of me and I know I’ll go to heaven
when I die.”
And while the Lord has His hand on Roden, the young man also
has friends who have come along side in this tough time, including Leslie
Hixson his girlfriend of four years who was Miss East Ridge as a senior in 2011.
“We are in this fight together with Austin,” said East Ridge
football coach Tracy Malone.
“Austin has done a super job with our receivers as he has
been like a sponge working all winter watching game film learning as much as he
“It’s hard to see someone that young fighting for his life.”
Roden is appreciative of the support he has received from
the East Ridge football family.
“The receivers I have been working with have stopped by the
hospital to show me their support which is great,” said Roden who has a strong
athletic family including his brother and former East Ridge quarterback Bradford
Turner and his dad, Arthur Roden who was one of catchers on the 1977 class A
state champion Lookout Valley High School baseball team.
Roden’s first bout with brain cancer came in June of 2011 as
a seizure led to tests which showed one tumor.
“I was lying next to a pool in East Ridge that summer and
all of a sudden my body started shaking and I couldn’t breathe and thought I
was going to die right then.”
The doctors successfully removed the one tumor and told him
he was cancer free in Nov. 2011.
“I was not scheduled to see the doctors for my yearly
check-up until this September until I started feeling bad last week.”
Now in the early stages of his second battle with cancer,
Roden has great support and prayers from friends and family and excellent
medical advice from his doctor.
“No doubt this will be an uphill battle for me the next few
months as I won’t be able to coach my guys this fall, but I do plan to attend
as many games as possible cheering them on to victory.”
And Roden’s battle through recovery should provide ample inspiration for his band of receivers
to give 100% for their coach in the season opener (Aug. 22) at
Walker Valley with the home opener the following week against Notre Dame (Aug.
contact B.B. Branton at email@example.com