Kansas basketball coach Bill Self recalls legacy of local teen who succumbed to fight with cancer this week

14-year-old Nicholas Parscale, who died of cancer this week, was one of the beneficiary starting five at the 2019 Rock Chalk Roundball Classic.

A 14-year-old boy who developed a special bond with Kansas basketball coach Bill Self died after a five-year fight with cancer on Tuesday, eight days before his 15th birthday.

Nicholas Parscale, known by many as “Nick the Brave,” was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2016. At the time of his diagnosis, he told his father that he believed he got cancer so another kid would not have to have it.

From there, he fought with everything had, keeping a smile on his face — and the faces of many others — throughout his illness.

In addition to being an inspiration to nearly everyone he met, Parscale started a podcast with his Nick the Brave persona and wrote a book called “What I Wish I Knew Before Cancer.”

In 2019, he was one of five beneficiaries at Brian Hanni’s annual Rock Chalk Roundball Classic fundraiser, and over the next two years, he developed a close relationship with Self, who often visited him at his house and even appeared on Parscale’s podcast in February.

“He far outlived what the prognosis was,” Self said in a statement after Parscale’s passing. “He fought to the very end and was inspirational to so many with his courage and his grit. The fight he displayed is going to have an impact on many moving forward and his legacy will last for years. I know he will be missed by all, especially his family.”

In a recent story by KSHB TV’s Jordan Betts, Self shared that he purchased the first 100 copies of Parscale’s book and that he planned to make it required reading for his players.

“Any (time) I hear people are going through (something hard), this will be something they receive in the mail,” Self told Betts.

Parscale hosted a book signing at The Dusty Bookshelf in Lawrence in early April.

Memorial services for Parscale will be held Monday and Tuesday at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Lawrence.

Memorial contributions may be made in Nicholas’ name to the “Nick the Brave” Memorial Fund and sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 West 13th St., Lawrence, Kan., 66044.


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