Josh’s Journey: UK football player beats cancer to get back on field

Josh’s Journey: UK football player beats cancer to get back on field

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The day he found out he had cancer is both a day he’ll never forget and one he can’t remember.

“Once I got that news I was just shocked and I remember really just not even really being able to remember that day, it was just all a blur to me,” UK defensive end Josh Paschal said.

It’s called acral lentiginous melanoma.

To Paschal, it was a spot on the bottom of his foot, right by his big toe. Doctors removed the discolored area, and then took a skin graft from his arch.

“I’m actually lucky that I’m a football player because we have to get our ankles taped and stuff like that, so of course, we look at the bottom of our feet more than the average person,” he said.

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and Paschal is embracing his role as a spokesman and champion for the cause.

“The Lord is just using me to help others and you know that’s something very humbling that I can do, is just use my trials and my tribulations to help others and hopefully save their life," he said. “With this type of cancer it’s something that doesn’t come from the sun, it’s something that just happens, and so if you catch this early, the problem with this is most people catch it late and that’s where it can be the most dangerous, but if you catch it early, you can, it won’t progress as much and it won’t be as aggressive.”

He’s already hearing stories from people he has helped.

“A couple of people in Kentucky that actually had came up to me and said that they had found some spots just from everything that I had done as far as reaching out to the media and everything like that.”

Paschal was back on the field late in 2018 and he started all 13 games in 2019. He had 3.5 sacks and says he has a number in mind for this season.

“Yeah, my personal number is double digit sacks.”

Based on what he’s already overcome, would it surprise you if he got there?

Copyright 2020 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.