Tom Coughlin is in Jacksonville this weekend. But, he’s nowhere near Everbank stadium. He’s not here for football – he’s here for golf. Coach Coughlin will be at TPC Sawgrass on Sunday and Monday with a host of celebrities and pro athletes to raise funds for his Jay Fund Foundation, which provides financial and emotional support for families of children with cancer.
“It’s very very satisfying and very rewarding,” Coughlin told EPSN.
This event marks the first time Jay’s parents, all of his siblings and even the nieces and nephews Jay never got the opportunity to meet will BE THERE altogether at a Jay Fund event to honor Jay’s life and legacy. Jay’s sister, Kathy, who was with him when he died, said, “It’s a great way to honor Jay’s life and to teach all of our kids about their uncle.”
Along with Jay McGillis’s entire family, including Jay’s mom and dad – John and Pat McGillis, Jay’s brothers Mike, David and Paul, and Jay’s sisters Kathy and Jennifer, Mark Herzlich, NY Giant Linebacker and Jay Fund advisory board member, will be in attendance. It’s also very important for Herzlich to BE THERE.
Mark Herzlich survived Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in his left leg while at Boston College and said he was inspired by the foundation’s namesake, Jay McGillis, during his fight.
Jay McGillis developed leukemia also while playing at Boston College, at the time under Tom Coughlin, which spurred the coach to start the foundation. Herzlich said he fed off of the emotion of McGillis’ family during his battle against Ewing’s sarcoma, which included six hours of treatment for five days a week.
“The last thing you want to do is wake up the next day and go in for more chemotherapy,” Herzlich told ESPN. “That’s that constant grind that can mentally get really challenging.” But the thought of McGillis served as motivation, he said. So did the idea of returning to the football field. “I always had [that] goal in my mind since the first day,” Herzlich said. He returned to the field with Boston College in 2010 and was signed by the Giants as a free-agent that spring. The 24-year-old made the roster after a strong showing that preseason and has been a key cog on special teams.
Like Jay, Mark’s story is an inspiration to his teammates, our recent Jay Fund scholarship winners and all of our Jay Fund families who tackle this life-threatening disease every day. This year at the Tom Coughlin Celebrity Golf Classic, Jay’s legacy unites his entire family with the Coughlin family at a special private dinner in honor of Jay.
Jay McGillis’s epitaph:
“The quality of a man’s life is measured by how deeply he has touched the lives of others.”