15-year old cancer patient to play for Bellarmine in Sunday’s exhibition at Louisville

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Sunday afternoon the Louisville Cardinals will play their second exhibition of the 2014-15 season, hosting Bellarmine University at the KFC Yum! Center. Rick Pitino’s team will face a special opponent on Sunday as well, with 15-year old Patrick McSweeney joining the Bellarmine roster according to Dana O’Neil of ESPN.com.

McSweeney, nicknamed the “Fighting Irishman” by his family, is fighting leukemia for the third time in his young life. And thanks to the Team IMPACT program he’ll go through a full day with Bellarmine head coach Scott Davenport’s team, including participating in their pregame meal, riding to the arena with the team and he’ll be in their starting lineup as well.

“Patrick was just speechless,” Debbie McSweeney, Patrick’s mother, said. “Basketball is this kid’s favorite sport. Having Bellarmine, having something that’s normal, that’s the key. With all of these treatments, all the isolation, normal disappears.”

McSweeney will take part in the entire day – from the pregame meal, to the walkthrough, to the bus ride to the arena, to, if all goes well, the first bucket.

“He’s going to blow by Terry Rozier, go by Chris Jones and score a layup,’’ Davenport said. “We’ll just be sure to tell Montrezl Harrell not to block it.”

Also of note is the fact that, with McSweeny scheduled for an experimental treatment on Monday, Pitino has taken care of the family’s airfare, hotel room and transportation in Philadelphia. The treatment, according to the story, is reserved for patients who have not responded to chemotherapy.

This event is a great gesture on the part of both the Bellarmine and Louisville programs, and here’s to hoping that Patrick McSweeny beats cancer once and for all.