Find Out How Myocarditis Stole the Life of a Young, Athletic Father
Mark’s Family Raises Awareness and Money in His Honor
On March 25, 2011, dozens of the 14,000 runners in the Dallas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon ran in memory of Mark Austry who collapsed and died at the finish line at last year’s race.
His brother, who is the runner in the family, talked Mark into running with him last year. They finished the race, Mark got a drink of water, and Michael glanced at his watch to check his time and heard Mark fall. Paramedics tried unsuccessfully to revive him.
Mark, the youngest of three brothers, a 32-year-old husband, father of two, and son was an accomplished athlete in several sports including baseball and golf, but that didn’t save him.
Mark’s sudden death has left his family in tremendous pain. Mark’s mother, Sharon Austry, calls the disease, “a thief in the night”, though not an ordinary thief that steals possessions, but a thief that takes your most precious and irreplaceable possession, then cruelly breaks into your happy life leaving every holiday a pile of broken dreams. She writes that not a day goes by that they aren’t reminded of the enormity of their loss, like when Mark’s three year old daughter Isabella asks for her father or when Mark’s absence is noted in Anna’s second birthday pictures.
Michael spoke to the cardiologist after the autopsy revealed viral myocarditis. The cardiologist stated that he did not know how Mark got the disease and that it could not have been prevented. Michael researched myocarditis and found the Myocarditis Foundation website where he learned that the disease is the third leading cause of sudden unexpected death in otherwise young, healthy individuals, including athletes.
This year, the Austry family, including Mariana, Mark’s wife and a host of supportive friends and neighbors, staffed a Mark Austry Tribute Booth at the Dallas Half Marathon Expo registration desk. Michael said it was just too painful to run the race but that he was hoping to raise awareness for myocarditis and money for a Myocarditis Foundation research grant. Michael has honored his brother by naming his new baby girl, Devin Mark, after her uncle.
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The Austry family's determination to raise awareness for myocarditis and to raise money for the Myocarditis Foundation despite their pain is truly inspiring. What better way to honor Mark and his memory.