Motocross racer Jeremy McGrath, 40, plans to donate his portion of the profits made off of last month’s XBLA and PSN release Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad to charity. McGrath’s haul from sales of the game will go towards “Be the Match.” The bone marrow registry charity maintains was crucial in finding wife Kim McGrath, 36, a donor this past week after doctors diagnosed her with leukemia back in May.
It has been a harrowing couple of years for Mrs. McGrath. Two years ago she was informed she had breast cancer, a disease that the American Cancer Society estimates estimates there being 226,870 new cases of in 2012 in the United States. One in eight women are believed to suffer from “invasive” cases of the disease during their lifetimes, and the chances of dying from it are about one in 36. As terrifying as those numbers are, the good news is that they are on the decline. There are currently two-and-a-half million survivors in the U.S., including the racing star’s wife.
She fought through the disease, enduring what she said in a blog post were “months of treatments and several surgeries.” Fifteen months later she said that she “was finally getting back on [her] feet.” The breast cancer survivor, having had the chance to recover and regrow her hair to the point at which it was once again “cute,” had reached a point at which she had turned her focus to getting on with the rest of her life.
Sadly, another excruciating battle with a serious illness — one that approximately 44,600 were diagnosed with last year in the United States — was on the horizon. More chemo was needed right away, and the mother of two would need a bone marrow transplant. Hospital visits lasting an entire month were in order, and her hair would fall out again. But that was nothing compared to the very real danger of losing her life if a donor was not found.
“The word [leukemia] pierced deep,” she recalled. “I could hardly breathe. Still exhausted from all I had been through, I was done being brave, done being strong. I just wanted to BE. I wanted to be a good mom. I wanted to be a good wife and friend. I just wanted to be like everyone else. And now once again I’m not. Being bald twice isn’t fair — not for me, not for anyone.”
“Sometimes I think, ‘Why me, God? Why me again?’” the wife of the famous offroad racer said of being diagnosed with her second form of cancer in as many years. “Then I hear about the record-breaking days we have set getting donors, raising funds and critical awareness for our cause, and I clearly get it — God’s answer to me. Somewhere there is another mom in a hospital bed missing her babies just like me. There are dads, daughters, sons, sisters, brothers, more importantly, kids out there waiting for a match just like me. If Jeremy and I can help one person, 10 people, or maybe even 100 people, THAT’S why I’m here, THAT’S why I’m doing my time.”
Her husband responded to the diagnosis by spearheading almost 40 marrow drives and fundraisers. His efforts netted over 4,000 individuals who were voluntarily tested for their eligibility for inclusion in the Be the Match Registry. Eventually, a suitable donor was discovered. A quarter of a million U.S. dollars were also raised as part of the drive.
McGrath expressed his appreciation for all of those who contributed to the cause. “First, thank you again to everyone who has helped, donated, gotten tested and sent well-wishes to our family. Your responses to my initial call to action have been incredible and the support and love just seems to continue to pour in,” he said. “The fact that Kim found a match is really great news for us, but it is our hope that people will still get tested and join the Be the Match Registry. I would also ask that companies that have charitable donation programs and those in the position to do something, please think about making a donation to Be The Match at any time throughout the year. This organization provides a service that literally saves lives every day of the year… it’s pretty amazing.”
Many patients remain without a match despite a list of registrants that stretches into the millions, necessitating a constant drive for more members. Be the Match’s website says that joining the registry is free to anyone who wishes to do so. All potential donors have to do to get their name on it is answer a few basic questions and order a swab kit. Each new registrant costs the charity $100 USD to add them to the list, so monetary donations are also encouraged.
Those wishing to express their support for Kim McGrath’s cause can do so on the Team Kim Facebook page.