University of Miami soccer goalie Austen Everett is cancer-free and happy to be back on the pitch after beating the odds this past year.
The 22 year old was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins lymphoma last summer after a football-sized mass was found next to her stomach.
Doctors gave her four months to live.
“It’s never really been that big of a deal for me, it’s always been something that I’ve been so sure that I’m going to beat,” said Everett. “And I’ve just known that it’s just not really my time to go.”
And now, after months of chemotherapy in her hometown of Seattle, it’s Everett’s time to shine on the soccer field and in the Miami community.
Everett’s in the process of starting the Austen Everett Foundation, which hopes to give sick kids a chance to interact with athletes.
“I get emotional just thinking about how selfless that is for her to give back to everybody,” said UM coach Tricia Taliaferro.
And Everett’s teammates say there’s plenty of fight left in the senior goalkeeper.
“She said she was feeling pain, but we’re like ‘You just fight through that,’ you know, that’s what all soccer players do, you fight through, you fight through,” said UM teammate Katie Oddo. “When we found out it was that serious, we were just like broken.”
Everett joined the team when they opened training camp earlier this month, full of emotion.
“I cried the first time I walked back out on the field, like I couldn’t believe it,” Everett said. “It was like the whole four months of chemo was just like a dream.”
Everett’s not there for sympathy, either. She’s came ready to play.
“Everyone knows from day one that she wasn’t here just to watch or to get in when she could,” Oddo said. “She’s working hard, she almost faints at practice because she works so hard.”
There are two goalies ahead of her on the team, but considering the odds she’s overcome, anything seems possible.
“It’s actually a lot easier since I got cancer, you just have a different mentality after you’ve been faced with something like that,” Everett said. “From an athletic perspective, I wouldn’t change getting cancer for anything. It’s had a positive impact on pretty much every facet of my life.”
By Adam Kuperstein and Brian Hamacher