Patrick McCaffery now cancer free
Patrick McCaffery touched the hearts of everyone watching the NCAA tournament last season, and according to his father, everything is looking great.
Patrick, the 14-year-old son of Iowa men’s basketball head coach Fran McCaffery, underwent surgery for a malignant tumor on March 19, the day coach McCaffery was going into a first-round NCAA Tournament game against
Fran was able to report on Saturday that there was no further cancer in the latest scans by his doctors.
“Patrick is doing well,” McCaffery said. “Two Fridays ago we got word that his second scan was clear and they didn’t find any further cancer, so we are feeling pretty confident. Last Friday was one of the best days of my life. The support for Patrick has been overwhelming throughout the entire state. It really made a difference for our family as we battled these last few months.”
This news came about during the weekend’s 380 Companies annual charity event at the Riverside Casino and Golf Resort, where all proceeds went to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Joining McCaffery for the event were Iowa State men’s basketball head coach Fred Hoiberg and legendary coach and ESPN analyst Dick Vitale.
“To be a part of this event now and support what Fran and Margaret are going through with Patrick and to see the other kids here as well, to be able to see the impact these events can have on research and to get the word out on helping young kids,” Hoiberg said. “I’m one of millions of people around the world who is a heart disease survivor, so I know how much these types of events help people like me and Patrick.”
This is the second year Vitale has come to this event, and anyone who knows of him, probably knows about the enthusiasm and passion he brings to any situation, along with his heavy involvement in the V Foundation, in memory of former North Carolina State head coach Jim Valvano.
“My wife and I are involved on so many levels in the fight against cancer,” McCaffery said. “Last year was the first time we partnered with Dick (Vitale) in this event and then we went to his gala in Florida a month ago. I’m amazed to watch him and the energy level he brings to this fight for the V foundation, and I’m just proud to be a part of it. I lost my parents to cancer and got involved with that fight about 15 years ago, but to go to a function where we raised 2.1 million dollars in one night is an amazing experience.”
The event consisted of a dinner and auction on Friday night, then a golf tournament on Saturday afternoon that all three of the main speakers
On Saturday, Vitale was able to talk about his passion for cancer research and why children’s care needs more attention.
“My heart goes out to any parent who has to face that battle. It is a 24/7 battle. Every little cold, every little headache, you wonder if the cancer comes back,” Vitale said. “It’s a nightmare and that’s why to my last breath, I’m going to beg and plead for people to give us money for kids battling cancer. I’ve been told that 4 percent of every dollar raised for cancer research goes to pediatrics. That’s absurd; it just crushed me.
“There’s a bunch of 5-, 6- and 7-year-old kids who have tumors on their brains or spines and their parents aren’t out here playing golf; they are inside from 7 a.m. every morning to 11 p.m. every night, dreaming and hoping for a miracle.”
Cancer treatment wasn’t the only thing discussed on Saturday morning, as McCaffery discussed Roy Devyn Marble’s NBA Draft projections, and Hoiberg talked about his trip to Greece to talk to a recruit for the upcoming season, 7-foot-1 Giorgos Tsalmpouris.
But when all is said and done, the message was largely the same from all three figures: More needs to be done.
“(The next step) is to get bigger, raise more money and raise more awareness,” McCaffery said. “A good friend of mine got cancer and 20 years ago had a 20 percent chance to live, and now has an 80 percent chance to live and is in remission. He has three children he would like to see grow up. We want to see that 20 percent go to 80 percent and then to 100 percent.”