2016, Austin Alonso was a student at the University of South Florida and in Air
Force ROTC program. While in class he
felt ill and drove himself to the hospital.
He also texted his mother in Fort Myers telling her that he thinks he is
having a stroke. Scared at this news, she
immediately started driving to Tampa. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was much
worse, Austin had a tumor on his brain stem.
later, Austin has completed multiple surgeries in Tampa and at Duke University
in North Carolina. Surgeons were able to
remove part of the tumor and treatments at the proton laboratory at the
University of Florida provided additional shrinkage to the tumor. The doctors are optimistic, believing the
tumor is dying.
parents were able to remain with him during the surgeries at the Duke
University Hospital. His CAP Family,
including a CAP Chaplain and many members visited often. Captain Pat Sepe assisted Austinís mother,
Jennifer, in setting up a GoFundMe account to help offset medical and travel
expenses. Word of Austinís situation spread throughout the Civil Air Patrol
community. Cards wishing him well came
from all over the country.
been a long, slow process, included five months at home in Fort Myers. His
fiancť, Bailey, and his mother have been there all along the way.
is currently a Senior Member-First Lieutenant with the General Chuck Yeager
Cadet Squadron in Brandon, FL. He has
returned to The University of South Florida as a senior, studying psychology. He currently participates in two internships
helping young people, especially those with Autism, ADHD and other social disorders. He remains active with undergraduate research
following those who have graduated from drug rehabilitation and evaluating
their progress. Austin will graduate from USF in December 2018 and plans to
pursue a Masterís degree in psychology at the University of North Carolina.
The man described in this story epitomizes strength and courage in dealing with a potentially lethal disease. Austin, we salute you and wish you well!