Teen beats cancer as a baby, now fundraising for research projects

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His brother donated bone marrow at 2 years old, saving Aaron's life

MIDDLETOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Aaron and Alec Augustine go to Middletown High School, and just by looking at them you wouldn’t know what their family has been through.

“At eight months old. I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and was given a 30 percent chance of survival,” Aaron said.

Aaron went through three rounds of chemotherapy in one month. The only way for him to survive was to have a bone marrow transplant

“There’s nothing more horrible than to hear your kid is dying and to know that you’re about to watch them fight for their life, when they’re only eight months old,” said the boys’ mother and father, Lisa and Eddie Augustine.

Doctors at Johns Hopkins found that Aaron’s then 2-year-old brother Alec was a match and needed him to donate bone marrow to save his brother.

“It wasn’t a discussion, it wasn’t a decision. The doctors were just like, ‘if you want Aaron to be alive after his first birthday this is what we’re doing,” Lisa explained.

The Augustines now celebrate the day of the transplant as “Brothers’ Day” every January. They always try to do something special to commemorate the day Alec saved Aaron’s life.

Now 16 and 17-year-old high school students, Aaron and Alec want to help families caring for children with cancer by raising money for research projects. The school recognized the family’s efforts with an assembly on Friday.

Augustine family at Middletown High School on Feb. 14, 2020.

“I’m trying my best to raise money and get corporate sponsors,” said Alec. “I’m reaching out to friends and family friends.”

“I hope we’re able to fund two research projects, which has been my goal from day one. We’ve got a good shot to raise $100,000,” Eddie said.

Each research project comes at a $50,000 cost, but the impact those projects could have on families is priceless.

“I’m raising money to help kids fight cancer, so they don’t have to go through what I went through. People helped raise money when I was in the hospital, so I need to raise money for kids who are fighting now,” said Aaron.

Aaron is also nominated for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Student of the Year. Aaron’s fundraising campaign can be found here.

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