News Release: Danielle Austin Wins Jeffrey Reed Courage Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Danielle Austin Named 2018 Jeffrey Reed Courage Award Winner
Fanshawe College/Western University Student Athlete Honoured April 30

April 3, 2018 (London, ONT) — Today, LondonOntarioSports.com announces Parkhill, Ontario’s Danielle Austin as the winner of the 3rd Annual Jeffrey Reed Courage Award.

Established in October 2015, the Jeffrey Reed Courage Award is an annual award given to a Southwestern Ontario athlete – amateur or professional – who inspires others by demonstrating courage on and off the playing field. In 2001, freelance sportswriter Jeffrey Reed achieved what many thought was impossible. Despite his numerous physical disabilities, and at age 39, he pitched as a rookie for the London Majors of the Intercounty Baseball League. Today, he’s a long-time Wilson Golf Staff Advisor.

The Jeffrey Reed Courage Award recognizes athletes who have beaten the odds, and allows them to inspire others. The award encourages athletes to dream big and never strop dreaming; work with mentors and mentor others; learn from failure; give 100 per cent at all times; and never quit.

FC London and Fanshawe Falcons soccer player Chelsea Zavitz won the Courage Award in 2016. Her Falcons teammate, Ali Vlasman, who also played for Fanshawe’s women’s basketball team, was the 2017 Courage Award winner. Each year, LondonOntarioSports.com awards the winner with a $1,000 cheque and a plaque. Athletes must nominate themselves with a 1,000-word essay.

Austin, 22, is completing her third year in the Fanshawe College/Western University Collaborative Nursing Program. In November 2015, this talented athlete was blindsided with a diagnosis of severe Crohn’s disease. She played numerous sports with the North Middlesex District High School Marauders, as well as minor hockey and soccer. In fall 2015, Austin entered her second year of Pre-Health Science studies at Fanshawe College. She was a member of the Falcons women’s soccer team, and was named 2014-15 rookie of the year plus an OCAA All-Academic athlete before she was diagnosed with Crohn’s.

Battling Crohn’s, Austin struggled to find medical treatment which would help control the disease and allow her reach her full potential as a student athlete. After months of increasing her medication dose, and at the same time experiencing a decreased quality of life, her specialist recommended a different biologic medication. Austin said she gained relief from the terrible disease in September 2016 through use of the drug, Remicade. Prior to its use, there was daily suffering for over a year.

“Today, as a nursing student and patient of Crohn’s disease, I am able to experience being a patient as well as learning the importance of being a caring healthcare professional. My goal in nursing is to work in the field of gastroenterology in order to help people with the same disease I have been diagnosed with,” said Austin.

Austin has decided to stand up to Crohn’s disease with a fundraiser. On June 2, she’ll run 63 km from Grand Bend to London during her journey, Kicking Some Guts One Step At A Time – visit https://crohnsandcolitiscanada.akaraisin.com/other/9dbf657542004026b3d3dc2ad1adea53. Austin’s goal is to raise $2,000 for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada in the fight against and awareness of the two diseases.

“When I attended the Jeffrey Reed Courage Award banquet in June 2017, I was inspired by Jeff’s story of courage. It was then that I decided to make the run from Grand Bend to London. Hearing Jeff’s story gave me the courage to do something on my own, and to inspire other people to stand up to Crohn’s and Colitis,” Austin said.

“Danielle is an incredible young woman who has not let this terrible disease dictate how she lives her life,” Reed said. “I am truly humbled that she was inspired by my own story of being a disabled athlete. When my wife, Beth, and I created the Courage Award, we wanted to give a stronger voice to local athletes who can inspire others. Just as Chelsea Zavitz and Ali Vlasman are now inspiring others with their incredible stories, so, too, will Danielle.”

Complete biographies and feature stories about all three Jeffrey Reed Courage Award winners are available at the Courage Award link at https://londonontariosports.com.

Members of the media are invited to attend Austin’s awards luncheon on Monday, April 30 at Highland Country Club – RSVP by Monday, April 16. Nike Golf’s Lindsey Edmunds will also be honoured April 30 when sister publication LondonOntarioGolf.com presents her with the 8th Annual London Ontario Golf Heart Award. Edmunds was instrumental in establishing the Western Mustangs women’s golf program.

Members of the public may purchase advance tickets for the awards banquet for $25 (incl. HST) by contacting news@londonontariosports.com or by calling 519/643-6334.

For interviews and high-res images, please contact:
Jeffrey Reed jeff@londonontariosports.com
Danielle Austin daniellebtt@hotmail.ca

To read a feature story on Danielle Austin, click here.

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About The Jeffrey Reed Courage Award

Jeffrey Reed (with bat) and Majors teammates at Labatt Park 2000.

The Jeffrey Reed Courage Award (est. 2015) is an annual award given to a Southwestern Ontario athlete – amateur or professional – who inspires others by demonstrating courage on and off the playing field. In 2001, journalist Jeffrey Reed achieved what many thought was impossible. Despite his numerous physical disabilities, and at age 39, he pitched as a rookie for the London Majors of the Intercounty Baseball League. His story, Diamond Dream: Jeffrey Reed’s Inspirational Story of Hope and Determination, recounts his life story, both as an athlete and as an award-winning freelance journalist. Visit http://www.jeffreyreedreporting.com/speaking.htm.

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About jeffreyreed

A leading Canadian communications professional. Corporate office www.JeffreyReedReporting.com established 1989.

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