Atlético Madrid midfielder’s comeback from brain cancer and mother’s paralysis highlights incredible fight
The story of a footballer’s mother losing the ability to move is not unusual, but in the case of Madrid’s Kiko Casado, it took another life in his mother’s family to bring him out of the shadows.
Casado has undergone an extraordinary journey since he became the first professional footballer to overcome a rare form of blood cancer.
The 20-year-old goalkeeper was among 10 fans of Atlético Madrid to watch him play for the first time on the club’s home pitch just 18 days after he signed with the Spanish giants.
And after his diagnosis with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia, the first time in his life he had experienced something as traumatic as his diagnosis.
When his mother, Yolanda, went into the emergency room after a fall and collapsed, the hospital staff suspected she was having a heart attack.
Kiko Casado with his mother
When the doctors later told him of her condition, Casado’s grief turned into outrage that doctors were not being more compassionate.
“He was in complete denial that something like this could happen – his whole life had been about football,” his mother said.
“I had to fight for the diagnosis to be confirmed. It felt like it was killing me.
“It is very sad that he has had to go through this, especially for someone as young as him.
“It is better he has gone through with this than to become a normal person. He has the will to fight, he is strong and I am proud of him because he has been through so much.”
Casado’s story is not unique. Blood cancers are rare, which has led to treatment that is difficult and time-consuming.
“The treatment is difficult, but it is worth it because we have the best specialists in the world who will make sure he doesn’t suffer,” Kiko’s mother said.
“They have taken the fight to the very last level, and have succeeded in curing his cancer – he is now cancer-free.”
As well as being a footballer, Casado is an avid football fan and an ambassador for his club, with special mention going to his mother for her commitment to football and her belief that football would bring happiness to her child.