FAIRFIELD, OH (WLWT) — As Austin’s Osner lifted weights Wednesday morning, his eyes filled with determination.
In his form, he strove for perfection.
But the 12-year-old’s strength comes from within. Austin has a challenge most kids don’t.
“Ah, well, I was born without my forearm,” Austin told NBC affiliate WLWT-TV.
He tries to never let his disability limit him physically. He’s even working with a Paralympic coach and had dreams of being part of team U.S.A. in 2024.
“It’s just been great to be active, because it’s showing people that just because I’m different, doesn’t mean I can’t do anything,” Austin said.
Emotionally though, growing up hasn’t been easy.
“It felt like I was in this bubble and I couldn’t get out of it,” Austin said. “I had that one group of friends that I had forever and they stuck with me, but it just felt lonely I guess.”
“When I’d ask him what he wanted for Christmas, he wanted friends so that was a heartbreaking moment for me,” Austin’s mother, Kristin McGinn said.
Those mother’s words swept across social media and captured the attention of wounded warriors.
One veteran helped Austin get his first prosthetic arm. Another, introduced him to a camp for kids without limbs organized by the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball team.
“Going to the camp, I felt like I actually belonged somewhere,” Austin said. “It made feel like I wasn’t the outsider, and it gave me more confidence in myself.”
“Basically this team gave me my child back. He was struggling with depression and anxiety and have never met another amputee child, and through attending their camp in 2016, he met 19 other kids just like him and made him understand he’s not the only one like that,” McGinn said.
Now, Austin and his family want to give back to the team. The team travels the country and will be hosting a charity game in Hamilton next month. Money raised will send other children with missing limbs to the camp Austin attended.
“Everything that they’ve done for him is amazing,” family friend and owner of Spertrained Gym, Brad Sper, told WLWT-TV.
Sper has seen how the wounded warriors have impacted Austin and is helping Austin raise money for their cause to help other kids.
“That’s the idea, that’s what we want to happen,” Sper said.
“I want to give other kids the opportunity to feel how I did, to be aware that they are not the only ones out there, that they can do great things,” Austin said.
The wounded warrior amputees will be playing Foundation Field in Hamilton on Aug. 18.
Prior to that, on Aug. 4, Spertrained Gym will be hosting a cornhole tournament to help Austin raise money.
For more information, or to sign up, you can reach Sper via his Facebook page.