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Update: Sadly, announcements that Adonis McCaskey passed away began to surface on social media on Wednesday, Jan 19.
Adonis McCaskey has never been one to flee from a challenge. The semi pro football player, husband, and father of two has long been known by family and friends as a happy-go-lucky guy.
So, two years ago, when he woke up one morning unable to see out of his right eye, he didn’t think much of it.
“It was random,” McCaskey told The Black The Wall St. Times as he recounted a morning in 2019 that forever changed his life.
At first he blamed the problem on a faulty scope he had used while at a shooting range. But while driving home from football practice with the Alabama Blackhawks on a Birmingham road, he realized something was wrong. Not only was he having trouble seeing out of his right eye, he couldn’t even close it.
By December 2019, at age 25 going on 26, Adonis was diagnosed with a melanoma—a tumor had formed behind the lens of his eye.
A physical illness, a mental battle
“It was a big shock. It caught me completely off guard,” McCaskey said. Doctors had given him a grave choice. The tumor was 14 millimeters too big to remove with a laser. He could either have the entire eye removed or risk the tumor reaching his brain.
“You can take the eye out,” McCaskey recounted. “I got kids. I got football to do.”
Thus, in January 2020, doctors removed his right eye, taking out the tumor along with it. While he and his family were emotionally affected by the procedure, Adonis said he tries to “take everything with a grain of salt.” Though the physical illness had been removed, the months that followed became a mental battle.
“Once I got it taken out it took me a minute to adjust,” McCaskey explained. Considering himself a “cocky, confident dude,” losing a piece that had always been with him caused Adonis to doubt himself.
“I kinda felt less of a man. So, I had to find myself again.” But he says it didn’t take long. Sporting an eye patch, McCaskey made sure to be transparent with his two kids.
“My kids know I got one eye,” he laughed. “They touched it. They’ve seen it.”
With his supportive wife, Abbygail, along with the rest of his family and friends, he brought himself to a place of acceptance with his new reality.
Cancer affects Black Americans most acutely
Ultimately, when asked what was the turning point that brought him out of the mental darkness the procedure had caused, McCaskey said it was the constant questions from children.
“When kids ask me questions, that kinda helped me find who I was because it helped me answer them. I like to teach the little ones about what’s going on and not to be afraid.”
Nationally, cancers of all types affect Black Americans most acutely, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.
For Adonis McCaskey, the glaring statistics would force he and his family to rally once again after he was told his cancer had come back in October 2021. Doctors informed him the cancer from his removed tumor had been found in his liver, known as metastatic melanoma, stage 4 cancer.
A shower of love from supporters; ready to fight
McCaskey, who turned 28 on December 15, told TheBWSTimes that doctors should have performed more tests to catch it sooner. Yet, despite the new diagnosis, Adonis, his family, and community remain laser-focused on fighting it off a second time.
“My biggest message is I’m good, bro. I’m still normal, happy, hyper Adonis. I got too much to lose to give up,” he said. “I almost have too much pride to even ask for help.”
But that hasn’t stopped his supporters from showering him with love. His friends have held benefit concerts and events to help cover medical costs. Unable to work, nearly 100 people have already donated to a gofundme in support of his family. And on December 10, 2021, Adonis began his first treatment on the road to recovery.
As if he didn’t have enough to fight for, the family man is expecting a third child on Christmas Day.
“I just want folks to know that I’m a fighter, man. And I got this,” McCaskey said.
To donate via gofundme, click here.