Patrick McCaffery has played at USA Basketball, is considered a top-50 basketball prospect of the 2019 class, and has won and accomplished a lot on the court.
This battle, this victory, isn’t as sweet as the other ones.
This is the Patrick McCaffery story.
“I was working out with my trainer and I was short breath and tired, my trainer told my mom so she took me to the doctor,” McCaffery said.
This trip to the doctor wasn’t an ordinary check-up for Patrick and his family. The 7th-grader who loved the game of basketball was hit with some news he will never forget.
“The doctor did some tests and it turns out my trachea was narrowed in a certain area so then I ended up getting an ultrasound and that’s how they found the tumor.”
At this point, McCaffery knew he needed surgery but didn’t really know if it was cancerous or not. After running multiple tests they didn’t find anything that showed signs of cancer.
Once his surgery came along, that’s when McCaffery was struck with some news.
“I had surgery and they found out the tumor was malignant (cancerous) so then after that, I had to get another surgery along with additional treatment.”
It was treatment and recovery for over a year for Patrick, a kid who is big on family and is motivated to be great. It was moments during this time that Pat will never forget.
His father Fran McCaffery is the Head Coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big 10 conference. In the 2014-15 season, the Hawkeyes led by McCaffery were in Dayton where they began an NCAA tournament run, the biggest game of the season and year for Iowa.
But it wasn’t the hardwood in Dayton that McCaffery was stepping foot on, it was his son’s operation room.
“He still supported me whenever he could and was with me on the day of the surgery while he had an NCAA tournament game that day in Dayton so that obviously meant a lot to me,” Pat said about his father.
His fathers right-hand woman, Pat’s mother, was outstanding during the process and meant so much to Patrick.
“My mom was a superhero, she was with me at everything and researched everything about thyroid cancer so she was awesome,” Pat said on his mom.
His mother also has other kids, younger sister, and Patrick’s brother Connor who currently plays for his father and the Hawkeyes. It appears that his younger siblings didn’t really understand what was going on, but Connor, the oldest, has tattoos of quotes he found while Patrick battled.
After battling, fighting, treatment, Patrick McCaffery beat cancer.
Fast forward five years later Patrick played USA basketball, AAU, trained, and is now committed to Iowa.
“It’s really cool to be recognized like that at this point in my career knowing what i’ve been through in my past and i couldn’t be more excited to play for my father at the next level, but I still have a lot more to accomplish so hopefully it feels a lot better once i’m done after what i’ve been through.”