My name is Dr. Henry Friedman. I run The Brain Tumor Center at Duke, and I helped Tug McGraw in his battle against a malignant brain tumor. Although Tug has been called a hero for his exploits in baseball, I believe that he reserved his greatest heroics for the fight for his life against a glioblastoma multiforme, also known as GBM. A GBM is the great white shark of brain tumors: aggressive, relentless and almost invariably lethal. Tug fought as hard as he could for both his survival and the best quality of life he could have. Although he ultimately fell prey to the GBM, his actions and his belief in the right of every patient to have the best quality of life possible has created a legacy for all patients who come after him.
Tug believed strongly that hope was essential in the fight against a brain tumor. He believed that without hope there was no chance of winning. The motto of The Brain Tumor Center at Duke is “there is hope.” The time I first met Tug, I found a patient and friend who passionately believed in hope and lived each subsequent day of his life with the conviction that his tumor could be effectively treated and that he would survive. Tug believed this to the very end and made it clear that if he did not win, he wanted to leave behind a philosophy and legacy to those who would follow him in this battle.
Tug’s family and friends have created the Tug McGraw Neuro-Oncology Quality of Life Research Center at Duke, which will conduct studies designed to improve the lives of patients and families who are battling a brain tumor. Tug’s life, the way he battled his brain tumor and his optimism and faith until his death will serve as a shining light for all who follow him.
—Dr. Henry S. Friedman
The Tug McGraw Research Center at Duke