Chatham High graduates Tom and Matt Devlin lost their grandfather, George McCormick, to complications from Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in January, 2019.
Inspired by the memory of their grandfather, Tom, Matt, and their father, Mark Devlin, joined Team Fox, the grassroots community fundraising program of the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which raises funds and awareness for PD.
PD is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects movement. Many patients exhibit the hallmark tremors, and the disease frequently progresses to include muscle rigidity, slowed movement and impaired balance. There are some treatments available, but there is no cure for PD, and much more research is needed to understand the disease, find more useful treatments, and hopefully discover a cure. Notable people afflicted by PD include famed boxer Mohammed Ali and acclaimed actor Michael J. Fox.
“We were inspired by our Pop George, and wanted to find a way to honor him and raise money for Parkinson’s research at the same time,” said Matt Devlin, a Chatham resident and junior at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa.
While searching for Team Fox events to raise money, the Devlin’s found the information online and joined a select group for the climb. Kilimanjaro, elevation 19,341 feet, is the highest free-standing mountain in the world, the highest peak in Africa, and one of the famed mountaineering “Seven Summits.”“The climb was more difficult than expected and conditions on the mountain changed quickly to a wind chill of -25°F," Tom Devlin, 24, who now lives and works in Boston, said. "But we stuck together and kept going until we reached the peak. Hardest thing I’ve ever done by far.”
The Devlin’s started a fundraising team called “3 Devs to the Top4Pop” and so far, have raised about $30,000 for the Fox Foundation. The team left for Tanzania on August 7th, and on August 17th at 7:52 a.m., all three Devlin’s successfully summited Mt. Kilimanjaro.
“The challenge was significant and memories even more so. We were just so happy to achieve the goal together and raise money for a great cause,” said Mark Devlin as he reflected back on the adventure with his sons. "As the banner in the photo says, 'Cures aren’t going to fall from the sky,' we have to climb up and get them!”
If you would like to contribute to Team Fox, 100% of your donation goes to research for PD, and you can make an easy contribution via the web link below.