Josh Paschal’s fight against cancer has inspired many. One in particular cannot be more grateful for the lessons he learned about life and football from his friend.
A day after the outside linebacker completed his final cancer treatment, Paschal did not practice, thanks to lingering side effects from the immunotherapy. His coaches and teammates certainly understand. After all the fighting he’s been through, Paschal has earned a little break, even though he did not want to take one the day before his final cancer treatment.
“This is a testament to what kind of worker Josh is,” Kash Daniel began his story. “The other day I was in there working out. We got done working out earlier and it was only a 30-minute lift, so I felt like I needed to do something more. I was in there and low and behold, here comes JP. He starts doing some flies with me and here comes Coach White, pretty pissed off at Josh. I was like, ‘Why in the hell is he pissed off at Josh for?’ He (White) said, ‘You’ve got treatment tomorrow.’
“You didn’t tell me that,” Kash exclaimed. “All you said was, ‘Hey, can I do some work with you?’ You didn’t tell me you had effing cancer treatment tomorrow. That just shows what kind of guy he is and what kind of heart he’s had throughout the whole process.”
A melanoma diagnosis is scary. Everyone would have understood if it put him down in the dumps. That was never the case with Josh. He fought cancer tooth and nail and never complained. His mentality inspired his teammates, especially Kash Daniel.
The defensive captain told Paschal after his final treatment: “How you’ve handled this has been remarkable because every table was turned against you. You had every reason to quit and nobody would’ve said a thing to you because, knowing the situation, that’s a lot of shit for a young kid, especially trying to be on a college football team, with everything trying to figure out life and how you’re gonna go about things.
“The way he handled it and how he came to work everyday knowing that he was going to beat it, knowing that his brothers had his back and knowing that he always had a smile on his face. He never complained, never once was in a bad mood. I told him it’s helped me, keeping me with a positive mindset and a positive attitude, no matter what’s going on.”
How Paschal handled adversity isn’t just lesson for his teammates to use on the football field. He’s shown the entire Kentucky football program that no matter how many punches life throws, you can take them to the chin before delivering a knockout.
“For Josh to go through what he did and be back out here with us, it’s unreal,” Kash said. “He’s an unbelievable human being, an unbelievable teammate and I’m just honored to have him as a friend, first and foremost. Football is great, being a part of a team is great and I’m really thankful that this football team has helped me form a friendship with Josh that ain’t going to be broken.”