health

'I made some very big promises to Jane McGrath before she died.'

Every summer, thousands of fans turn out to watch the #PinkTest cricket match and support the McGrath Foundation in their goal to raise money to fund Breast Care Nursing in Australia.  

The free service has helped over 49,000 Australian families negotiate the experience of breast cancer by providing physical, psychological and emotional support.

But behind all this colour, behind the legacy of the foundation that Jane McGrath built, stands her best friend, Tracy Bevan.

She sat down with Mia Freedman for a No Filter podcast in October, 2015 to tell the story of an extraordinary friendship, and how the McGrath Foundation saved her.

This is not an interview about breast cancer. Even though Tracy Bevan lost her best friend Jane McGrath to breast cancer, that’s not what defined their connection.

Everyone knows Jane’s story. The beautiful, fiesty, funny wife of one of Australia’s best-known cricketers, Glenn McGrath, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was 31 and had five precious years of remission and two children before the cancer came back.

Jane died in 2008 when her kids, James and Holly were 5 and 7.

Tracy and Jane’s husband Glenn were both by her side from the moment she was diagnosed.

“We were in Canterbury in Kent…it was a Saturday afternoon…and we got invited on a boys team dinner and we were so excited, and she knocked on my door and she just had a towel wrapped round her,” Tracy told me.

“And she said to me, ‘Trace, does my boob look like a funny shape to you?’ She took my hand, placed it on her breast and straight away I felt, like, a frozen pea.

“When I think about that moment in time, I know she was begging me. And we just stood there. It was like forever, crying, and at 32 years old my beautiful friend was diagnosed with breast cancer.”

ADVERTISEMENT

This is an interview about an extraordinary friendship between two hilarious women. One that went to the darkest places you can imagine and then lifted them higher than they thought possible, over and over. It’s a friendship that has transcended death in the most surprising way.

I was daunted going into this interview in the same way I’m alway nervous about interviewing anyone who has lost someone they love. It’s a fine line you walk between wanting to know things and not wanting to poke too deep and cause more pain.

Mia with Tracy and her youngest daughter Millie

Tracy teared up many times as we spoke but she also laughed a lot and so did I.

I came away feeling so envious of their friendship, its depth and breadth and the enormous gift of finding ‘your person’ in every way but romantic.

The conversations they had at the end and along the way were a privilege to hear about and right next to Tracy as we spoke, was her 15-year-old daughter Milly who had her own story to tell, a story that further cemented the connection between her mum and her godmother Jane.

Here’s Tracy Bevan… and Milly:

No Filter is the podcast with conversations that go there. Subscribe in itunes for more incredible interviews, or listen here:

The McGrath Foundation Pink Test aims to raise $390,000 for a new Breast Care nurse. Donate here 

FROM OUR NETWORK
00:00 / ???