Clinton McDonald talks with patient JoAnn Porterfield in an infusion clinic in the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.
Joanie Autin (right), myeloma patient at UAMS, and her daughter, Julia Autin Adams (left), meet McDonald.
McDonald gives myeloma patient Judith McCanless an autographed photo.
Defensive tackle for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Super Bowl XLVIII champion Clinton McDonald learned that he has something in common with UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute patients when he paid them a visit last week — they are fighters.
“We often feel like we have so many problems in our lives,” McDonald said. “You should be grateful at all times because you never know what type of shape or position you’re going to end up in life. These people are living testimonies — they’re fighting and they’re doing a great job at it.”
McDonald, a Jacksonville native, visited an infusion clinic at the UAMS Cancer Institute to bring smiles to the faces of patients by handing out autographed pictures, posing for photos with patients and employees, showing off his Seattle Seahawks jersey and helmet, and talking about the upcoming football season.
Joanie Autin, a myeloma patient, was one of many patients cheered up by McDonald’s visit.
“I’m a big football fan,” she said. “I’m from Lafayette, La., so we pull for the Saints. But, I’m a Tampa Bay fan now, too. He’s a hunk.”
McDonald felt like he gained more from visiting the patients than what he was able to provide them.
“You feel like, man, I’m feeling sorry for this person and have sympathy for them for this fight they have to endure,” he said. “But when you see them making light of it and being so positive, it makes you feel like they’re doing good. They still have their joy and their sense of humor. That’s always a good thing to have when you’re fighting.”
McDonald knows a thing or two about fighting after having been cut by Seattle and then fighting his way back to the roster later last season and being an integral part of the dominating defense that won the Seahawks its first Super Bowl title. He became a free agent following the championship run, and recently signed a four-year, $12 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.