Justin Hardy, who inspired teammates and opponents alike while playing basketball in a round of chemotherapy last season, died Sunday at the age of 22 after a 13-month battle with stomach cancer.
Hardy played for Division III Washington University in St. Louis, where he finished last season as the team’s second-leading scorer despite being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He was named to the first team of the University Athletic Association and received national acclaim for his steadfast attitude.
In April, Hardy traveled to the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans to receive the Perry Wallace Most Courageous Award, presented by the United States Basketball Writers Association.
Hardy said in his acknowledgment speech, “I will not go two or three minutes without thinking about the fact that this is my life and something that will stay with me forever.” “But I have a lot to be thankful for and I can’t let that negativity swallow my thoughts.
“Everything in life will be fine if you look at it with optimism. I took it to heart and I think that’s one of the reasons I was able to do it. We came here almost a year later, and I didn’t know I would be able to do everything that It seemed important. “
– Pat Jukem (CoachJuckem) May 29, 2022
Hardy completed a summer internship and graduated last December, in addition to shining on the court. Fans saluted his achievement on social media with the motto #HardyStrong.
The family of Washington University head coach Pat Juke Hardy has praised his players after announcing his death.
“We are devastated by this loss but we are comforted by the way he has lived his life,” Jukem said. “Justin’s love of playing basketball, competition and his teammates really made him special.
“It simply came to our notice then. He showed us what it means to be ‘focused on others’ – what it means to be a great teammate. Justin has taught us many lessons, how to deal with adversity and what it means to win. “
Hardy’s family has established a “Hardstrong Scholarship” for high school graduates in Justin’s memory.
The inspection and service is scheduled to be held on Thursday and Friday.
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