Today is a sad day. We in the Team McGraw family were saddened by news of the passing of our teammate, our friend, our inspiration, Jen McDevitt.
Jen was, without a doubt, one of the toughest, bravest individuals I have ever met. Jen was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2003, shortly after giving birth to her son Jack. Doctors told her she had, at best, 3 to 5 years, but she battled through it for 7. During that time, she took up running, and completed (I believe) 8 marathons and/or half-marathons. Complications set in this past August, but not before she worked tirelessly on her Joggin' for the Noggin 5K in her hometown of Palatine, IL. I spoke with her a few days after the race, and she explained to me the new "stuff". But I knew Jen was a fighter, and if anyone could beat it, she could, and I told her as much.
But it was just too much.
I met Jen back in 2009, when I was running what was then called the Philadelphia Distance Run (half-marathon). I was the top fund raiser for the Team McGraw group for that race, and Jen and I had a very long conversation the night before the race, about her struggles, and what my step-father went through with his brain cancer. The bond was instantaneous.
I next saw her this past April at the Tug McGraw Fiundation night at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. There I met her husband Glen and some of her family members, and introduced Jen to my wife. Jen threw out the first pitch that night, and it was a grand time for everyone.
I was vacationing in central Wisconsin this past summer, and Jen got hold of me and said she was nearby - I should come visit. But I couldn't work out my schedule and unfortunately missed out. I was hoping that Jen would be able to make it to Philadelphia for this year's half marathon, but the cancer and surgery had left her unable to travel.
We communicated through Facebook as long as possible, but even when she didn't reply, I knew she was there, reading. The outpouring of love on her Facebook page these past few months was truly astounding. She touched the lives of so many people; we will never forget her, and the inspiration she has been to all of us.
My deepest sympathies go out to Glen and Jack, to the Galloway and McDevitt families, and to her extended family through Team McGraw. Jen was an amazing person who will be missed very much.
Ya gotta believe.