This Man, Who Lost Half His Face To Cancer, Has Inspired Everyone With His Resilience

"If I am a well of inspiration for those around me, I hope it never runs dry."

In 2013, Tim McGrath, a 38-year-old man from Michigan, went to the doctor because he was experiencing difficult jaw pain The source of that pain turned out to be a growing tumor, and McGrath was diagnosed with Synovial sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.


Two years later, in October 2015, McGrath was hospitalized for almost seven weeks after undergoing surgery to remove the cancer and reconstruct that part of his face. To eradicate all the cancerous cells, the surgery required the removal of McGrath's eye, ear, half of his jawbone, muscle, tissue, skin and some of his skull. 

Though McGrath's doctors did their best to reconstruct his face post-surgery, McGrath's body rejected the treatments. 

Even after McGrath was well enough to leave the hospital, "... Over time, the transplant kept shrinking, and I experienced numerous infections," he told Huffington Post UK. Going up against one difficulty after another, McGrath admitted, "There were so many times when I wanted to give up, and at times it was difficult to find the strength to carry on." But he didn't give up. 

Instead of trying to go over this obstacle, he found a way around it. After consulting Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate, a plastic surgeon in Michigan, he decided to graft skin from McGrath's leg, forearm, and forehead to his face "After the operation to remove the tumor, I was heartbroken," McGrath told Metro. "I didn't realize that half of my face would be taken away, and it wasn't until I went to Dr Chaiyasate that I started to feel real hope again." Of McGrath's total 20 surgeries, five have been with Dr. Chaiyasate, and all have been successful transplants.

Tim McGrath with Dr. Kongkrit Chaiyasate

While McGrath continues his ongoing recovery, he wants to inspire others with his story through his website, Tough Like Tim (TLT). "I have been through something horrific, but if what I've gone through can inspire people to live their lives with gratitude for the things they take for granted, than it makes what I've gone through all worth it," he added to the publication. 

"It's difficult to imagine what Tim has gone through, but his strength, positiveness, and his fight through this healing process has not only made him the BADASS that he is, it has also inspired so many to never give up and to keep fighting any kind of battle that each of us may be challenged with," it says on the website of the "uncle, brother, son, and friend to so many." 

"Life is too precious and too short to give up... "

Through the TLT website, McGrath sells T-shirts with a Superman-style "T" and hosts fundraising events to help with his medical expenses. Perhaps more importantly, he's been able to spread his message of resilience but receive messages that remind him just why that resilience is so admirable. 

" ... Knowing that I have inspired so many people throughout my journey makes this easy to accept," he wrote in a Facebook post on August 24, 2016. "... As always, I continue to appreciate all of you, your love, your thoughts, your prayers, all make a huge difference. Even just a simple text message to check in on me brightens my day!"

In a quote for the TLT Facebook page, McGrath stated, "If I am a well of inspiration for those around me, I hope it never runs dry." If his thousands of social media fans are any indication, it certainly hasn't yet. By sharing his story of resilience through his website and social media, McGrath has proven the extraordinary ability every ordinary person has within them.

A Plus has reached out to McGrath for comment. 

Cover image via Anna Jurkovska i Shutterstock

(H/T: BuzzFeed


Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest news and exclusive updates.