Comm Major’s Bout With Cancer Led Him to UTA

Austan Pierce
Austan Pierce

Communication major Austan Pierce discussed how a bout with cancer led him to UT Arlington in a Jan. 17 op-ed piece in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The article grew from an assignment Pierce submitted in Geoff Campbell’s Writing for Mass Media class a year ago. His instructor urged him to refine it for publication, and when a good hook presented itself, Pierce was ready with the story.

Pierce, an advertising major/public relations minor, was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a form of bone cancer, when he was 11.

Pierce endured 11 months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation treatment, in addition to countless surgeries.

“Despite many operations in an effort to save my leg, the best option in the end was to amputate it. So, on Dec. 13, 2006, the doctors removed my left leg at the hip,” Pierce wrote.

Not long thereafter, his physical therapist introduced him to the sport of wheelchair basketball. And when it came time to select a college, Pierce knew he wanted wheelchair basketball to be a part of the experience.

He’s now a proud member of the Movin’ Mavs, the school’s competitive wheelchair basketball team.

“I am thankful for every day that I get to be a Maverick,” Pierce wrote. “I am often asked whether I wish I had never had cancer. That is an easy question to answer: I love my life how it is now, and I would not trade a single day of it away.”

Pierce’s article can be accessed online at

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