Sport Cricket Jane McGrath’s best friend reflects on life 10 years after her death
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Jane McGrath’s best friend reflects on life 10 years after her death

"It makes me really sad to think that I’ve lived 10 years without her." Photo: Getty
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When Tracy Bevan walks out onto the ground of the SCG for the 10th anniversary of the Pink Test, a niggling sadness at the loss of her best friend, Jane McGrath, will be tempered by pride at the achievements of the McGrath Foundation they started together before Jane’s untimely death from breast cancer at 42.

“When I look at it from a personal point of view, yeah, it makes me really sad to think that I’ve lived 10 years without her,” Tracy says.

“But as I always do in life, I have to spin it back. Well, nothing is going to bring her back, so I now focus on what’s been achieved and what we’ve got to do.”

It’s a responsibility Tracy takes very seriously, but the foundation also brings her a great deal of joy.

“I made promises to Jane before she passed away and that’s what drives me. Okay, stop feeling sorry for yourself! What do you need to do to fulfil what we started and keep her legacy alive? That’s how I get through it.”

The McGrath Foundation raises $12 million annually to fund 119 specialist breast-care nurses, with 60,000 Australian families helped in the first decade.

“That’s a huge amount of money and it reminds me of the amount of support we receive every year, and that’s also a huge responsibility,” she adds.

“That’s the Australian public’s money supporting a little charity started by two Poms – one who had breast cancer and her friend who wanted to help with her family.”

Family is at the heart of the McGrath Foundation, with Jane’s widower Glenn (now remarried to Sara Leonardi) front and centre. Tracy says his support has been incredible.

Glenn and Jane McGrath in 2007. Photo: Getty

“We made a promise to Jane before she passed that no matter what, we would continue what we started, and Glenn and I are like brother and sister now,” Tracy says.

“We were always close, because we were in the same cricket family, but nursing Jane and then the foundation, it’s a bond we’ll have forever.”

Tracy says Jane always told them life is to be lived. The support of a breast cancer nurse was vital so that Jane could be guided through her treatment while insisting Glenn and Tracy got on with their lives, with Glenn still playing cricket for Australia at the time.

Tracy is overjoyed Glenn has been able to rebuild his life.

“From something incredibly sad, for a beautiful woman of 42 to lose her life to breast cancer and leave behind a six-year-old and an eight-year-old, that was heartbreaking. But 10 years on to see Holly and James beautiful and happy, that Glenn has found love again and to see the joy that Sara has brought to that family, and now baby Madison, I love it. It fills my heart.”

That resilience sends a message of hope. “It’s great for others to see that out of something so terribly sad, you can get through that and you can smile again.”

The 10th annual Pink Test is on now at the Sydney Cricket Ground until January 8. For more info visit www.mcgrathfoundation.com.au

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