A standout on the Baylor basketball team, Isaiah Austin was considered a first-round NBA prospect when he received a life-changing diagnosis. Austin suffers from Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that can be life-threatening.
The rigor of professional sports would be too risky for Austin, who had already overcome losing vision in one eye and would have been the first partially blind NBA player. He's now turned his attention to running the Isaiah Austin Foundation, which will host its inaugural event at American Airlines Center's Audi Club in Dallas on October 24.
"I was blessed enough to play on one of the highest levels despite the odds that were stacked against me. Blessed is all I can say. Thankful is all I can be," Austin said in a statement.
The October event to raise Marfan syndrome awareness is sponsored by Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks and hosted by Baylor head coach Scott Drew.
"Isaiah is one of those guys that can take advantage of any situation," Drew said. "His focus is now on making people aware of Marfan syndrome and being a positive role model. He is a team guy that has always been worried about others."
In addition to speeches from Austin and Drew, the event will include dinner and live and silent auctions. Other athletes and celebrities are expected to make an appearance at the fundraiser, but the foundation is staying mum on the lineup for now.
Robert Griffin III is a possible big-name attendee. Also a former Baylor Bear, Griffin is a board member of the Isaiah Austin Foundation. The Heisman Trophy winner will already be in Dallas in late October when the Washington Redskins take on the Cowboys on October 27.
Individual tickets start at $500 and sponsorships are still available. Foundation spokesperson Phil Hetu says they are expecting around 250 for the event.