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Family of John Casey had a different kind of Thanksgiving

Dec. 05, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

As the world prepared for Thanksgiving Day, traditionally full of parades, festivities, food and football, the family of John Casey had a different experience. The day will forever become a different kind of celebration and act of Thanksgiving, as early Thanksgiving morning, John passed away after an extensive three year battle with cancer. John, a 1993 South Point grad, suffered from Stage IV Adrenocortical Carcinoma -- a rare cancer that accounts for 1 out of approximately every 2,000,000 cancer occurrences.

In 2010, during Thanksgiving weekend, under the guidance and assistance of Matt McSweeney, Aaron Murray, John Maynard, Alan Wheeler and a few South Point alumni, the South Point sports community rallied to have a fundraiser for John and his family, which has now become an annual event. Rick Huckaby came in 2010 to show his support for John. John Casey, Huckaby and McSweeney were all teammates on South Point's basketball team, which was coached by former Marshall men's basketball coach Rick Huckabay, who passed away from cancer in 2007. While attending South Point, John was a member of the basketball, football, soccer and track teams.

Despite his passing, on Friday, Nov. 23, the 3rd Annual Johnnie L. Casey, Jr. Alumni Event carried on with friends and family gathering to share memories, comfort one another and bid farewell to John's legacy. Many former Pointer basketball players, male and female, came out to support the Casey family. His mother, Alberta and "baby brother," Aaron Murray thanked the community for all of the love and support they have shown. Participants signed Pittsburgh Steelers poster and terrible towel to present to the family, as John was an avid Steelers fan.

Adrenocortical carcinoma is a disease in which malignant cancer cells are found in the adrenal cortex, which is the outside layer of the adrenal gland. The body has two adrenal glands -- one above each kidney. The adrenal cortex is responsible for vital bodily functions such as balancing water and salt in the body and regulating blood pressure while also managing the body's use of proteins, fats and carbohydrates.

John fought with all of his being to live normally regardless of what was going on in his body. He will forever be remembered for his compassionate heart and love that he shared with everyone he met. He imparted wisdom and knowledge into the lives of his family and friends, always wanting to make a better way for those who were struggling. His motto became, "Another Day, Another Blessing."

He was a master barber in Charlotte, N.C. He obtained a degree in cosmetology and barbering from Just For You Academy and in 2009 obtained an associate's degree in arts from Central Piedmont College in Charlotte, N.C. He also attended Marshall University and the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. He leaves to cherish his memory his wife, Irina; daughter, Jazmin; mother, Alberta Murray Casey; stepfather, Lester Weems; father, Johnny Casey Sr.; his stepmother, Wendy Casey; and a host of other family and friends. Services were last month in North Carolina. Detailed information can be found on the John Casey Memorial Page on Facebook or at www.thecause7.com. Cards and expressions of love may be sent to Irina Casey, 7827 Quail Field Drive, Charlotte, NC 28227.

Stacy L. Murray-Medcalf of South Point, Ohio, is an eightyear breast cancer survivor and co-founder of The Cause, Inc., which promotes resource awareness as it relates to health issues. For more information visit www. thecause7.com or contact her at stacym7@gmail.com.