Justin Hardy, College of Washington basketball participant, dies of abdomen most cancers at 22

ST. CHARLES, Ailing. — Justin Hardy was a star on and off the courtroom.

The 22-year-old school basketball participant from St. Charles, Illinois, who died final week after a battle with stage 4 abdomen most cancers, had a profound affect on those that knew him and people listening to his story for the primary time. .

His household, associates, coaches and teammates bear in mind his inspiring journey.

Hardy started attending Washington College in St. Louis in 2018 and have become the College Athletic Affiliation’s Rookie of the 12 months.

In his second yr, Washington’s season was lower quick because of the pandemic; in its freshman yr, the season was canceled.

However he was getting ready to return to the courtroom for his senior yr.

Then final April, after waking up with abdomen pains, docs found a perforated ulcer.

They carried out the surgical procedure. However then they found indicators of most cancers.

“The physician got here in. She stated, ‘I obtained the pathology outcomes. In reality, you’ve got most cancers. I am sorry, that is most likely the worst day of your life,” Hardy recalled in a SportsCenter Featured phase that aired in March on ESPN.

Hardy was identified with stage 4 abdomen most cancers.

“The preliminary prognosis he acquired was a 12 to 18 month likelihood after prognosis of survival,” stated Justin’s mom, Karen Hardy.

“There’s at present no treatment for stage 4 abdomen most cancers,” Hardy instructed ESPN. “And I am put on this recreation that I’ve, in principle, no likelihood of profitable.”

Within the SportsCenter Featured phase, titled “Thoughts Over Matter,” Hardy wrote a letter to himself.

“Justin, I do know you heard some dangerous information. The information that at present is the worst day of your life,” he wrote. “Your thoughts goes to journey to a spot you by no means knew you had been able to. You can be essentially the most mentally troublesome particular person going by means of this. There can be many extra nice days forward. Do not let any negativity drag you down. It is all thoughts over matter.

Hardy underwent radiation and chemotherapy remedies to combat most cancers.

He went from 215 kilos to 165 kilos.

“He regarded like a shell of himself. He could not transfer. He was weak. His voice was weak. He wasn’t the identical Justin,” College of Washington goaltender Charlie Jacob stated.

His coach, Pat Juckem, who described Hardy as a basketball machine, stated, “We’re our greatest model of ourselves when he is with us.” However the coach now not believed there was a basketball future for Hardy.

The faculty senior, nonetheless, thought in any other case.

As of October 2021, he was coaching with the group. A month later, he was within the beginning lineup. In December, Hardy was diving once more.

Jacob stated he simply smiled as a result of he knew what he was witnessing along with his teammate had most likely by no means occurred earlier than and would by no means occur once more.

On February 1, 2022, Hardy discovered that the most cancers had unfold to the liner of his colon.

5 days later, he tied a career-high 28 factors.

“If I used to be going to do that, I used to be going to do that,” Hardy stated. “It is beating him. It is me dwelling my life it doesn’t matter what. If that is not beating him, I do not know what’s.”

The most cancers, nonetheless, continued to unfold and Hardy’s situation worsened.

He was unable to eat strong meals and his weight and power dropped.

Hardy’s sister, Jackie, referred to as to ask him a query: “Is that…”

Hardy completed the query for her, “Is that this the start of the top?” He replied, “Sure.”

“I can not management the unfold of most cancers within me. This half goes to do what it does. And it may be additional than I feel, however it’s positively nearer than I would not.” stated Hardy.

In mid-February, Hardy started an aggressive experimental remedy protocol. However he was stopped when the unwanted side effects ravaged his physique and compelled him to be hospitalized.

He missed three consecutive video games.

And when College of Washington senior day arrived on Feb. 26, Hardy could not enter the courtroom for pregame celebrations with out ache attributable to swelling from his hips to his ankles.

Hardy’s sister had requested him earlier than the day’s recreation if he was contemplating enjoying.

She stated he replied, “‘I’ll placed on a jersey, however I am not going to play. I do not desire a pity recreation, a sympathy recreation.'”

With 37 seconds remaining within the recreation in opposition to the College of Chicago and with Washington nicely in management, Hardy checked in.

Hardy, so weak he may barely shoot, acquired a standing ovation from the five hundred followers in attendance.

Moments later, he made a basket.

It could be the final shot of Justin Hardy’s profession on the College of Washington.

Washington would go on to play two rounds within the NCAA Division III Match. Hardy was unable to decorate for both recreation.

“It felt just like the closing of a chapter,” Jackie stated.

Hardy’s affect was felt by those that knew him lengthy earlier than he set foot on school grounds.

He instantly impressed Patrick Woods, the pinnacle basketball coach at St. Charles East Excessive College.

“I might see him steal the ball and go for a breakaway dunk,” Woods instructed our sister station WLS-TV Chicago. “As a freshman, you do not see that too typically.”

Woods stated Hardy was versatile. He may dunk or nail a three-pointer, like he did a couple of years in the past to win the sport in opposition to St. Charles North. The snap went viral.

WATCH | Justin Hardy’s game-winning 3-point shot that went viral in 2018

Hardy was additionally a frontrunner off the courtroom, Woods stated, calling him a “phenomenal pupil” who graduated highschool as a straight pupil with honors.

He received an award for his braveness throughout the Last 4 weekend and returned to St. Charles East for a particular basketball recreation in his honor.

However on Sunday, Could 29, 2022, his household introduced that Hardy had handed away on the age of twenty-two.

His father tweeted, “After 13 months of courageously redefining what it means to dwell with most cancers, Justin handed away peacefully early this morning.”

Woods stated whereas the loss is heartbreaking, he finds consolation in different lecturers’ tales of Hardy’s compassion.

“I might have a pupil in school that some children may snort at or decide on and never need to sit subsequent to, and naturally he put the chair proper subsequent to that pupil and have become associates with them and sat with them the remainder of the semester,” Woods stated.

A legacy celebration can be held in Hardy’s honor on Friday at St Charles East Gymnasium. Organizers say it was considered one of Hardy’s needs that these attending put on their favourite group’s jersey.

The College of Washington despatched its condolences to Hardy’s household.

“Justin’s love for basketball, competitors and his teammates made him really particular. We had been lucky to be accompanied on his journey,” the college stated. “Justin taught us many classes, together with find out how to take care of adversity and what profitable actually means.”

Within the SportsCenter Featured phase, Hardy instructed ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski that he continues to play as a result of it is what he loves.

“You’ll be able to’t surrender on the belongings you like to do since you encounter just a little little bit of adversity,” Hardy stated. “And that is how I’ll dwell the remainder of my life.”

He continued his letter to himself, writing, “You write your story. From the duvet opening to the final web page. This illness cannot take that away from you. Get on the market and defy the percentages. Rewrite find out how to dwell with it. the most cancers.

“You’ll do superb issues.”

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