Justin Hardy, BSBA ’21, plays WashU basketball while fighting stage 4 stomach cancer

  • January 28, 2022
  • By Jill Young Miller
  • 2 minute read

An amazing story about Olin alum and WashU athlete Justin Hardy, BSBA ’21, is making the rounds.

Hardy, 22, graduated in December after just three-and-a-half years—with a double major in accounting and finance while also playing a sport.

Hardy at his 2021 graduation
Hardy at his graduation in December 2021

“What Justin is doing right now is a miracle,” Jack Nolan, a WashU basketball player who is teammate of Hardy, recently told television station KSDK-Channel 5’s Frank Cusumano.

What Hardy is doing is playing on while he battles stage 4 stomach cancer.

“Hardy is a really good basketball player,” KSDK reports. “He does all of the little things that makes teams great, and the Bears are just that. They are 12-1 on the season and are ranked No. 4 in the country.”

Hardy got the news of his cancer last April. At the time, he was dead lifting 450 pounds.

“The sadness was really tough at first just because I felt my life was kind of closing in on me,” Hardy told Cusumano in this piece, which aired January 17. “And there wasn’t going to be all the things that I loved in my life. I felt like most of things were gone and I was finished playing basketball.”

Hardy wasn’t finished. Athletes have come back after dealing with cancer, but how many play through the treatment?

‘Not like most’

“The prognosis isn’t pretty, but I am not like most,” he told KSDK. “This is pretty rare to see in a 21-year-old. My age and my health status are two things I really have going for me.

“You have to live your life. I am living in some of the best days of my life. This is one of the best years of my life that I have lived. I want to embrace the moment I am living in. Coming back and playing basketball and finishing my degree are two things that I really wanted to do.”

About the Author

Jill Young Miller

Jill Young Miller

As research translator for WashU Olin Business School, my job is to highlight professors’ research by “translating” their work into stories. Before coming to Olin, I was a communications specialist at WashU’s Brown School. My background is mostly in newspapers including as a journalist for Missouri Lawyers Media, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post and the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida.

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