January 2012 CBA REPORT
sidering his next step.
“I always thought that he would be a
lawyer,” Candi said. “He did Mock Trial at
Princeton and would listen to me practice
my closing statements. And he would argue.
A lot. And he was stubborn.”
Home in Glendale for a wedding in the
fall of 2008, he showed Candi a mole on his
neck. She suggested he go see a doctor when
he was back in Steamboat Springs. He called
her a couple of weeks later. First, she was
surprised that her healthy son (he had just
completed a mini triathalon) had actually
gone to the doctor. Then she was shocked at
what he told her. Melanoma. Cancer. And it
Mother and son, sharing that stubborn
streak, were determined that Andy be on the
“other side” of the discouraging statistics.
In early 2010, Andy responded amaz-
ingly well to a clinical trial at MD Anderson
in Houston and went to work in Denver at
a law firm. He began bonding with other
young people, forming an informal group
of “Melanoma Warriors” that he met at the
spent my earliest days in practice with
Candi (Carolyn) Taggart. They were
heady days for young litigators; we had
generous mentors who allowed us to take on
cases — and then learn from our mistakes.
Over the years, as our careers took us in dif-
ferent directions, we maintained that bond
created by young lawyers with
young families trying to do it all.
Candi, in fact, did it all and
became one of the pre-eminent
women litagators in Cincinnati
at a time when barriers seemed
insurmountable. Today, she is a
Fellow in the American College of
Trial Lawyers with more than 50
jury trials behind her.
So when her son, Andy, died
at 24 after an 22-month battle
with melanoma, many of us who
know Candi were really hit hard.
How amazing it is, then, to talk
to the Porter Wright Morris &
Arthur LLP attorney and see how
she and her family are keeping
Andy’s legacy alive — and doing
a tremendous service to the com-
The Andy Caress Melanoma Foundation
wasn’t something that Candi, her husband
of 30 years Bob Caress, son Robbie (now
28) and step-daughter Courtney O’Neil, 34,
cooked up in their grief. It is a project that
Andy himself focused on while he was bat-
tling his cancer.
Andy grew up playing tennis (as a senior
at Princeton High School, he was a member
of the 2003 Ohio State Championship tennis
team) and swimming competitively. Ad-
venturous, he went off to Coastal Carolina
University and played four years of varsity
tennis while earning his history degree
magna cum laude.
He headed to Steamboat
Springs, Colo., to work as a tennis pro, con-
By Breck Weigel
cancer treatment hospital and online. Beat-
ing cancer, Candi says “that was the plan.”
But the cancer returned and the family
rented a house in Houston so they could
spend time together. While there, Andy
put together a conference call with some
lawyer friends and his family and formed
his foundation. “He wanted people to
understand that this can happen, and
that it is important to protect yourself
from the sun. He wanted kids to know.
He wanted sunscreen to be at pools
and tennis courts across the country.”
Candi said since his death, the
foundation has established a sig-
nificant presence at the Western &
Southern Open Tennis Tournament
passing out sunscreen, organized a
Block the Sun Run and formed alli-
ances with other organizations.
“The foundation has helped our
family so much. We know we are
doing what Andy wanted us to do.
When he was alive, he raised $10,000
for MD Anderson in a month, so he
left us some big goals. Now it’s up to
us to make the foundation better and
bigger,” she said.
While the pain of losing her son will
always be there, Candi said there is real joy
in knowing that good has come from her
family’s tragedy. “Countless people have had
skin checks for the first time, kids are ask-
ing for sunscreen and wearing hats. We are
going to make a difference. Andy is saving
Learn more about Andy and his foun-
dation, and see photos of Andy, at www.
Breck Weigel is the 2011-2012 president of the
Cincinnati Bar Association.
At the CBA, Candi Taggart, left, and BreckWeigel discuss Andy’s foundation.
Mom Keeps Son’s Dream Alive