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Pat Harty: Health issue puts everything else into perspective

[ 0 ] March 11, 2014 |

Iowa fans were reminded Tuesday afternoon that losing five out of six basketball games isn’t that serious in the big scheme of things.

The announcement that Fran McCaffery’s 13-year old son Patrick has a tumor on his thyroid puts the Iowa men’s basketball team’s current skid in perspective.

It reminds us that basketball is only a game, even big-time college basketball.

It reminds us that life is way more precious than winning a Big Ten Tournament title or making it to the NCAA Tournament.

And it reminds us that life isn’t always fair.

You could see the strain on Margaret McCaffery’s face as she listened to her husband during a news conference Tuesday afternoon at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Fran McCaffery released a statement just minutes before meeting with the media confirming that his son Patrick has a tumor on his thyroid.

“Last week it was discovered that our son Patrick has a tumor on his thyroid,” McCaffery said in a statement. “Patrick is currently undergoing tests and is scheduled to undergo surgery next Wednesday, March 19, at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Once the mass is removed, additional tests will determine a further course of action.

“I was made aware of Patrick’s condition prior to traveling to East Lansing, Mich., last Wednesday. Margaret and I notified our players and staff of Patrick’s health issue after a biopsy was done on Monday.

“We appreciate your concern and ask that you respect our family’s privacy as we address Patrick’s situation.”

Reporters avoided asking McCaffery any questions about Patrick’s situation, focusing instead on Thursday’s game against Northwestern in the Big Ten Tournament and with what’s wrong with the slumping Hawkeyes.

It didn’t feel like a typical news conference, though.

I kept looking at Fran McCaffery as the father of four children rather than Iowa’s fourth-year basketball coach. You won’t find a more devoted coach than McCaffery, but never at the expense of his family.

I admired his wife for being at the news conference because family should stick together during tough times.

It’s also important to realize that contrary to some reports, Patrick hasn’t been diagnosed with cancer. He has a tumor that will be removed next week and then examined to see if it is cancerous.

You hope and pray for the best and take comfort in knowing that Patrick McCaffery has thousands of people pulling for him and parents who are pillars of strength. Love isn’t necessarily a cure, but it helps to get there.

Fran McCaffery is passionate about cancer awareness after losing his mother and father to the disease. He works hard to raise money for cancer research.

He also works hard at being a good father to his four children. So my message to Patrick is stay positive and know that you’re in good hands.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes men's basketball

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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