Living Life: Patrick McSweeney finds happiness in his challenges

February 26, 2018

Freshman engineering student Patrick McSweeney is recognized for his fundraising efforts for raiseRED dance marathon. McSweeney raised $30,000 for the cause.Last weekend, students from all over campus participated in the annual RaiseRED dance marathon, an event that fights to end pediatric cancer and better the lives of Louisville children and their families. Diagnosed with leukemia at age five, engineering freshman Patrick McSweeney, has struggled against the disease on and off again for the majority of his life. Now enduring his seven relapse, McSweeney has learned to appreciate the present, staying in town to connect with the community that he engenders in his wake, and in doing so, pushing his treatment back to correspond.

Through his travails, McSweeney has tried a variety of different solutions, from a transplant to medications and repeated t-cell biopsies, challenging himself along the way to stay positive and find a better tomorrow.

“I really don’t even have a lot of pain or go through a lot every day. It more restricts when I’m going through treatment, my ability to be in public. I’ve learned to adapt,” he says.


McSweeney is passionate about sports, and admits to his competitive nature. Growing up the youngest of three brothers, he has fought not only to embrace his own physical obstacles, but to find new avenues to grow. Initially drawn to engineering through his love of Legos and erector sets, he decided to pursue an education in engineering. During high school, he maintained an average GPA of higher than 3.6 while attending Saint Xavier, which helped prepare him for the difficulties of Speed School. While he has experienced difficulties in his freshman year, he is energized to succeed and has high hopes to gain admittance to the mechanical engineering program.

He says, “I will say that Speed School has definitely been academically the hardest challenge I’ve faced. My ultimate goal is to be admitted into the Mechanical Engineering Program, but that wouldn’t be until next fall. I’m going to do the best that I can to continue with my education as best as possible. Why do something if you’re not going to give it your all?”


It’s that question that McSweeney faces every day, and one that he handles with grace and aplomb. Speaking with him, it’s difficult not to be infected by his kindness and zeal for life. It’s no wonder that McSweeney elected to stay in Louisville this weekend and celebrate life with his friends, rather than revisiting Philadelphia, a city he has spent much time in to receive treatments.

He admits, “What’s helped me getting here today is to have a positive attitude. In the long run, I just try to do the best I can, and maintain the best attitude that I can. It’s going to help me continue to fight and keep going. That’s the gist of it, is just a positive attitude has gotten me where I am.”

He adds of a moment in his own life seized, “Two days ago, I went golfing with my dad. I had a chemistry test the next day. I did study that night, but this past school year, while I’ve been focused on my education, I’ve taken time to go home and just hang out with them. Just for a weekend. Don’t go to any fraternity parties. Just live in the moment. If you fail, you’re going to learn from it.”