Monday, April 28, 2008

Ya Gotta Believe...

Life is funny...It was a busy but great weekend. I was speaking down in Nashville at the Country Music Marathon. I drove down from Chicago and saw a sneak peak at spring heading our way (Chicago). Everything was blooming and green and it really gave me hope. Good thing because it is suppose to snow today in the windy city (argghhh!).

Anyway, here's the funny part. And by funny, I don't mean "ha-ha", I mean "aha". We were setting up our booth at the Expo and it was in a tight corner where we most likely wouldn't have seen very many folks. We asked Sandy, our friend and Expo Director if we could move to the booth behind and she said sure! We did, and in doing so, we were right across from a charity booth called Team McGraw. A nice guy named "Jeff" came over to introduce himself and asked me if I had lost my dad to a brain tumor. It took me back a little at first but I quickly realized why he was asking. He had read my blog about my father passing and his struggle with Glioblastoma (brain tumor) and wanted to tell me about the Tug McGraw Foundation. Remember Tug the famous baseball player?

"Ya Gotta Believe"-- The Tug McGraw Foundation was established by Tug McGraw in 2003 to raise funds to enhance the quality of life of children and adults with brain tumors and their families by stimulating and facilitating research that addresses the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual impact of the disease. The amazing part of all of this is Tug McGraw was diagnosed with brain cancer (same as my father), and on his journey developed this foundation. Tug wanted to create programs for brain tumor survivors and their families, friends and caregivers that would help them to face the often daunting challenge of this terrible cancer. He wanted to find partners fighting the same fight…with the same goals…and the same inspiration. He wanted to share his story, explain what brain cancer was all about, and inspire others to act. Truly Amazing...

The most difficult part of my father's final chapter for all of us was not feeling as if we were able to help him. We struggled with finding proper care, knowing which direction to turn and ultimately communicating with him.

I am in awe of what Tug was able to accomplish in his final months. They tell me he was given a few weeks to live and he turned that into a 10-month plan to make a difference. I've been looking for a charity to work with in honor of my father and it found me. Smack-dab in the middle of a race expo. If I hadn't been a runner I wouldn't have been there. If we hadn't moved our expo booth, we wouldn't have seen Jeff, Jennifer and Team McGraw. Life is funny...If you're listening, life presents itself to you.

Team McGraw is forming teams for the Chicago and New York City Marathons this season. To apply for the team or donate to the Foundation, visit their website HERE.

A special thanks to Jeff McMahon and Jennifer Brusstar for walking over to our booth. Jeff is the Keyboardist for Tim McGraw and a marathon runner. I'm not sure how he does it, but he trains for marathons is a very active spokesperson for the foundation AND is on tour! If he can do it... Jennifer is the CEO/President of the Foundation and was Tug's caretaker.

Happy Trails,

Jenny

1 comment:

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Great story. I'm glad you found each other!

If you and John aren't doing anything next weekend (HA HA, I know that's not likely), please consider running 10k on the 10th. I have a virtual race going on at my blog. I think you will love the premise of the race about keeping positive thoughts (and beating down the ugly ones that crop up).

Also, I hope John starts winning the cholesterol battle and statin dilemma. I know there is something that will work for him if he stays positive and patient.

Nancy