Teen Who Survived Scarce Disorder and the Heartbreaking Loss of His Brother Gets Make-A-Wish Ride to Final Four

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Source:   —  April 01, 2016, at 11:54 PM

Austin Spencer, presently a learner at IL State University, was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)three years ago after feeling ill.

Teen Who Survived Scarce Disorder and the Heartbreaking Loss of His Brother Gets Make-A-Wish Ride to Final Four

A basketball-loving 19-year-old who survived a bone marrow transplant and the loss of his younger brother will be a visitor of honor at this weekend’s Final Four games in Houston.

Austin Spencer, presently a learner at IL State University, was diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH)three years ago after feeling ill. The teenager missed his all Jr year and much of his senior year of high school after undergoing a bone marrow transplant in two thousand-fourteenth to treat the life-threatening condition, which affects the immune cells, according to the NIH.

While undergoing treatment, Spencer never gave up his dream of playing basketball -- working out while in the hospital -- and was determined to defy his doctor'south expectations that he may never be able to play again. On his fourth day back at school in November two thousand fourteen, Spencer not only rejoined his high school'south basketball team but started the game and ended as the game'south highest scorer.

“He had what'd be called a miraculous recovery,” Spencer’s father, Bart Spencer, told ABC News.

Austin and Bart Spencer, along with Austin’s mom, Tamara, and sister, Raegan, are attending the Final Four games and getting a backstage experience thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The all family will be rooting for the Univ of NC Tar Heels to win it all this year for a very special reason.

Spencer’s younger brother, Mason, was diagnosed with the same genetic disorder at age thirteen. He also had a bone marrow transplant in two thousand-fourteenth. But he suffered complications, passing away thirteen months later, at the age of fifteen.

Mason always rooted for the Tar Heels while his brother rooted for the Duke Blue Devils, who won the NCAA Championship latest year.

“He’ll definitely be the only Duke fan there, I’m sure, rooting for the Tar Heels,” Tamara Spencer said of her son, Austin. "Mason’s team is NC so we’re pleased to look them play."

Spencer, who was taking portion in Final Four activities and not able to speak to ABC News, is still closely monitored by doctors but is healthy. He'south pursuing a career in medicine.

The family says it's choosing to utilize their ride to the Final Four to focus on the positive, love what a truly remarkable recovery Spencer has made.

“Mason’s tragedy took over the spotlight and we kind of forget how excellent of a recovery it was for Austin,” Bart said. “This ride gives us a chance to recollect how delicate it was and how we could've lost both sons.“

“We necessity to recollect that he'd a miraculous recovery and has a shining future ahead of him,” he said.

"We're taking time to focus on the presently because we know how quick that can go," Tamara added.

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