NASHVILLE, Tenn.- It’s been nearly eight years since head golf coach Parrish McGrath got the news that his wife, Kelli, had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
His wife, then 36, went in for a routine check-up in February of 2007 when an abnormal mass popped up on her mammogram.
“She just had this feeling when the doctor recommended that she should have the lump checked out,” said McGrath.
When the biopsy report came back, the McGrath family knew their lives were about to change drastically in the months to come.
“The biopsies, the tests…it’s all very exhausting,” said Parrish. “She had to get a biopsy on Valentine’s Day, have surgery on her birthday, she missed our daughter’s recital because of an infection…. those were just some of the drawbacks.”
In hopes of removing the cancer completely, Kelli made the decision to surgically remove the lump.
“Making the decision to go ahead and do a mastectomy was probably the best thing that could’ve happened,” said McGrath. “Come to find out, there was cancer in two other places that the doctors had not found, so they removed those as well.”
A little over a year after her initial check up, Kelli was deemed cancer-free; and while her fight with cancer was finally over, her fight for the cause was not.
Kelli and her team of supporters, better known as “Team Skully”, registered to walk in support of breast cancer. Together, Team Skully raised over $5000 for the cause.
Their daughter Maddie has also done her part in contributing to the cause. For two years she grew her hair out so that she could donate it to Locks of Love, a foundation that uses donated hair to make wigs for kids who have lost their hair due to various medical conditions, including breast cancer.
“It was so meaningful to watch my daughter do that in support of her mom,” said McGrath.
As for McGrath, he’s been able to spread awareness and gain support through coaching.
A couple of weekends ago, the head coach took his team’s golf balls and drew the iconic pink ribbon on each one.
“I asked them if they would play for my wife that day,” said McGrath. “Every single one of them said ‘I would be glad to’ and that meant a lot to me.”
McGrath has also ordered his team pink golf hats in honor of his wife and breast cancer awareness.
This month, McGrath is sure to be seen around campus wearing some sort of pink accessory.
“I wear pink as much as I can,” said McGrath. “ I’m very proud not only to champion the cause but to really support my wife and say ‘I’m proud of this woman’.”