An AthLeader's Journey: Alexa Austin's Fight to Find a Cure
A common saying "a memory will last a lifetime" has a different meaning for Alexa Austin.
When she was only 11 years old, her great-grandfather passed away from Alzheimers disease, and soon after, she decided she wanted to make a difference.
"Whenever he could not remember me I got the drive to find a cure for this disease because I realized there are other families in the world dealing with this disease and it affects almost every family" shares Austin.
Alexa began fundraising for Alzheimer's Tennessee, a non-profit organization that provides family support, community and professional education, advocacy for the needs and rights of those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and research for its prevention, cure, and treatment.
Her seventh grade year she started to get serious about volleyball began competing for K2 Volleyball, a JVA member club in Knoxville, Tennessee. Volleyball quickly became her passion, and Alexa found a way to use her platform through volleyball to continue raising money.
Through her volleyball community, as well as high school and local community she has run successful fundraising campaigns such as motorcycle rides on the first Saturday in August and a Christmas Tree Auction called Christmas in July, and sold Alzheimer’s Tennessee Socks.
To this day, Alexa has raised over $100,000 for Alzheimer’s Tennessee.
"The first year I raised around $6,000 dollars, and the second around $9,000. Every year I have exceeded my goal, and I plan to keep doing so to save just one memory. The biggest thing that I take to heart from fundraising is the ability that I have to help people that I do not even know."
Alexa's biggest role model is her great grandfather, JL Austin, because he gave her the drive to fight for a cure for Alzheimer's. In his memory she strives to spread Alzheimer’s Awareness and make Alzheimer’s a memory.
Her passion drives her to not only excel in her fundraising efforts, but in the classroom as well, earning her a 2019 Ultra Ankle JVA AthLeader Award, awarded to the top 20 female student athletes in the country. Alexa carries a 3.75 GPA and excels in Art and English. She is the Vice President for a fundraiser called Volley4Teens that provides funds for kids that cannot afford to play club volleyball.
"As a student athlete I feel like others should get involved with their community because you can be an amazing athlete, but your personality off and on the court matters. Being a good person off the court helps you grow on the court."
Alexa values the time she spends with her teammates, and the relationships she has built through volleyball.
"I feel like playing volleyball definitely has made me more of a leader. Being a leader on the court and picking my teammates up has definitely helped me become more of a leader in my Alzheimer’s Fundraising. I feel like it shows that a little bit of encouragement can go a long way on and off the court and with patients affected with Alzheimer’s sometimes all they need is a simple conversation to make them happy for a week."
An aspiring collegiate student-athlete, Alexa is considering pursuing a career in the non-profit sector. For now, in her free time you can find her relentlessly fundraising and getting for upcoming events.