Each of the five finalists for the Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion Award will have their story featured here. In order to vote for the next Rare Disease Champion, please visit our voting page here. The winner will be announced on February 1st.
University: University of Texas
Vitals: 6-2, 200-pound senior quarterback
Quick Hits: A part-time starter for two seasons, McCoy took over as the starting QB for the Longhorns for the final 10 games in 2013. Threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 11 touchdowns this season, including 190 yards and two touchdowns in signature win over Oklahoma in Red River Classic…Younger brother of former Texas and current San Francisco 49ers QB Colt McCoy…Spent 10 weeks last summer on a missions trip to Peru installing water purification systems.
Case’s Story: Like plenty of young boys from Texas Case McCoy dreamed of playing college football one day.
Only problem was McCoy wasn’t like most other young boys. But he never stopped dreaming.
“I didn’t know if that was going to be a possibility,” McCoy said. “Because I didn’t know how progressed this disease would get. That’s something my family and I dealt with.”
At the age of 4 years old, McCoy was diagnosed with form of the rare disease scleroderma. The type of scleroderma, a disease that involves the hardening of the skin and tightening of connective tissues, McCoy was facing, morphea, is usually found in adults not pediatric patients.
The first couple rounds of treatments on what became a regular trip from West Texas to Dallas for McCoy, his father Brad and mother Debra didn’t slow the disease.
And the side effects were brutal as McCoy started losing weight, didn’t want to eat and started losing his hair.
“It wasn’t like I was going through this disease alone. It was a family deal, and we were all going to fight it together and overcome,” McCoy said. “My family is a very faith-based family that made every trip with me.
“That’s what kept driving me and giving me hope – my family and my faith.”
Eight months of weekly shots administered by his Dad, Brad, on Wednesday nights after church that caused McCoy to get violently sick and nauseous for nearly 30 minutes each and every time. Plus monthly trips to Dallas for treatments. McCoy never stopped dreaming.
“He was a tough kid. There was never a time he didn’t get violently sick,” Brad McCoy said. “He knew what was coming.”
Eight long years later, McCoy was told in 2004 his battle with a rare disease was finally over.
Shortly after being told he didn’t need those shots anymore, 12-year-old McCoy was watching ESPN Gameday one Saturday morning.
After watching one of those inspirational stories that has become part of the package for the lead-up to college football Saturday, McCoy turned his father and told him one day he was going to have a story to share.
“When I got here I kept battling and battling,” said McCoy, who last May went on a 10-week missions trip to Peru and installed water purification systems. “Finally this year things started going in my favor. I was in the spotlight a little more and telling my story was something I promised myself I would do.”
So earlier this year, through the University of Texas Longhorn Network, McCoy’s battle with a rare disease became public knowledge.
He didn’t do it because he was the starting quarterback at Texas. That was the platform he chose to deliver his message. McCoy shared his story to possibly help another little boy fighting his own battle.
“Maybe there is a young boy who sat with his father and watched my story and said the same thing I did when I was 12,” McCoy said. “And now that young man is working day in and day out to make his dream come true.
“Hopefully it touched someone and gave them the ability to keep battling to achieve any dream they have as well.”