Former Coastal Carolina athlete succumbs to Melanoma

Former Coastal Carolina athlete succumbs to Melanoma

Courtesy: Coastal Carolina Athletics

Andy Caress, 25, founder of the Mela-Know-More Foundation, died at Hospice of Greater Cincinnati in Blue Ash, said his mother, Candi Taggart of Glendale.

Caress learned he had melanoma in November 2008 after doctors told him a spot on the back of his neck was cancerous.

Within months, the cancer had spread to other tissues in his neck, the muscles and bones in his legs and his brain. Caress called himself “a melanoma warrior” and vowed to fight the disease.

The Enquirer chronicled his battle with cancer and efforts to educate the public about melanoma in July.

He was admitted to University Hospital on Thursday. On Saturday, he left the hospital and entered the hospice, Taggart said.

He lost two good friends to the disease, the deadliest form of skin cancer, and he referred to those friends as “melanoma angels.”

“Now he’s a melanoma angel, too,” his mother said.

He fought hard, undergoing one round of treatment after another, including an experimental treatment offered through the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

But the cancer kept coming back. Most worrisome were several cancerous lesions in his brain. Most painful were a couple of large tumors in the bones of his legs.

During last month’s interview, he said he hoped to begin another experimental treatment in Houston “in a month or two.” 

Caress had been a star athlete in high school and college, and was on Princeton High School’s tennis team when it won the state championship in 2003. After college, he competed in marathons and triathlons.

In May, Caress established the foundation, which aims to educate people about melanoma and raise money for research, in May.

His family and friends will continue to run the foundation, Taggart said. A Labor Day fund raiser is planned in Caress’s memory at Queen City Racquet Club, and plans are in the works for a bike ride as well.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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