How Celanese materials improved my daughter’s life – in the most unexpected way

I have been fortunate to work for Celanese for my entire 25-year career. During this time, I have had the opportunity to see hundreds of different applications where our products play a key role in creating a high-performance, lasting solution for our customers. Over the past year, the importance of the role Celanese plays in the world has taken on a much greater personal significance because of my daughter Megan’s health issues.

It started about two years ago in the spring of Megan’s eighth-grade year. She became very ill, and our doctor sent us to Texas Oncology where the oncologist told us to come back in five days prepared for cancer surgery. However, five very long days later, the doctor told us Megan did not have cancer, but most likely a severe staph infection. After several weeks and numerous antibiotics, Megan began to feel better, but my wife Kim and I started to notice physical changes.

Like most teenagers, Megan had worn braces to straighten her teeth, but suddenly her smile, bite and profile began to significantly change. Her orthodontist made the decision to put braces back on Megan, but her teeth seemed to defy every attempt to realign her bite. After months of watching her and measuring her jaw, Megan’s orthodontist concluded she could potentially have a degenerative jaw disease in which the temporomandibular joint begins to degenerate. This rare condition that affects teenage girls is called idiopathic condylar resorption, also known as ICR or Cheerleader’s Syndrome. Although an exact cause of ICR is not known, it is believed that hormones are involved. Left untreated, Megan’s jaw would most likely have lost all functionality over time.

A visit to a maxillofacial surgeon in the fall, just six months after her illness, confirmed this diagnosis. In viewing Megan’s x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s, the surgeon was struck by the speed in which the disease had progressed. Megan’s jaw disease had progressed so rapidly that surgery must occur within the year. The only option would be artificial jaw joints and a surgery similar to a hip or knee replacement in order to stop the disease and return her jaw to full functionality.

Megan’s surgeon showed us the artificial joint device made from titanium and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) that he would implant into her jaw. It immediately struck me that Celanese’s Advanced Engineered Materials Division, the division I now lead, was the supplier of the GUR®, the only UHMWPE approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for medical implants. It was odd but exhilarating to think that after this surgery, my daughter would carry a polymer made by my division in her body for the rest of her life.

When I told Megan about the role that Celanese plays in successfully helping with thousands of knee and hip replacements a year, it brought her some comfort through all of the tears. Kim and I never imagined the important  role a Celanese product would play in our teenage daughter’s long-term health.

On June 13, 2012, after months of watching our daughter lose all of her self-confidence and change into a girl we hardly recognized, Megan endured a nine-and-a-half hour surgery to install the artificial jaw joints and realign her new jaw. Following surgery, while standing by her bedside in intensive care, we immediately saw the amazing transformation in Megan’s profile.

Today, ten months after surgery, Megan is healthy, and she has returned to her very active life of cheerleading and tennis. We could not be prouder of the maturity and strength Megan displayed through this horrific ordeal and the inspiration she is to others.

Kim and I continue to be thankful for many things – the orthodontist’s perseverance in diagnosing Megan, the surgeon’s very skilled hands performing a very difficult surgery, and the role that Celanese had in providing a unique medical solution to address my daughter’s degenerative disease.

197 people like this post.

About the author

				Phil McDivitt is Vice President and General Manager of Celanese’s Advanced Engineered Materials Division.  Favorite past times include spending time at the lake with his family and travelling to new places.				

There are 52 comments. Add yours.

  1. Michael Frey says:

    Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing. It certainly puts significant meaning into what we do at Celanese.

  2. Dawei Wang says:

    Phil, thanks for this very touch story! As father to a new-born daughter, I can imagine the sorrow and happiness you and your family had experienced. Isn”t it one the most wonderful moments for a man to witness his life-long career devotion save his beloved? We are grateful for what both you and Celanese have achieved.
    So glad to see smiles come back to your daughter”s lovely face. It is truly amazing.

  3. Amy Mai says:

    Phil, thank you for sharing your story. Your daughter is beautiful and brave. It”s great to hear that Celanese had a played a part in this amazing journey.

  4. Ms. Zahn Patin says:

    Thanks for sharing such a personal and heartfelt story. It”s good to hear that we are truly Improving the World with the work that we do at Celanese. Best wishes to you and your daughter for a healthy life and full recovery!

  5. Gretchen Rosswurm says:

    Phil, thanks for sharing your story. I”m so glad your daughter is well again and proud that we make products that can change lives.

  6. Greg Vale says:


    Can”t wait to share with my wife and daughters. It is sometimes difficult to articulate what we do at CE … this hits close to home and will be nice to share with my girls. Thanks for sharing and all the best to Megan, you, Kim and your son.


  7. Todd Elliott says:

    Thanks to the McDivitt family for sharing this story of courage … and Celanese technology … and most importantly Megan”s health and happiness

  8. Margie Dolch says:

    Great post! We truly are improving the world-one daughter at a time. Thanks for sharing your struggles and your successes. Megan has a beautiful smile and so much to be thankful for.

  9. John Livorness says:

    Phil, this is a wonderful story and it is great to see how well your daughter is doing after the surgery. We often see the negatives of chemistry being shown on the evening news, your story shows us the good that chemistry does, every single day.

  10. Katja Glasner says:

    Hello Phil,

    Many thanks for sharing your personal story with us!
    Thank god, that Megan is healthy and feels good again.
    All the best for Megan and the whole family!

    Best wishes from Germany! :-)

  11. Frank Bekhuis says:

    Again an example how many different diseases threaten human lifes. Especially when it concerns your own children I can very well understand the sorrow you and your family went through. Excellent example where Celanese products do show up in day-to-day life.

  12. Maria Ciliberti says:


    I didn”t realize how far back this went and the uncertainty you and your family went through. But what a beautiful ending and a gorgeous young lady!

    And thanks for sharing how Celanese and our work can and do make a difference.

  13. Liana says:

    Phil – What a touching and inspiring story. Thanks for sharing! It makes me so proud of what we do at Celanese and to see how it touches others in such a personal way. So glad Megan is doing well – she”s a lovely young lady!

  14. Amit Gupta says:

    Very moving. I will read this to my daughter who is turning 9 this Saturday. A must read for everyone that is touching the GUR(r) product! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Michelle Lipes says:

    Phil – thanks for sharing such a personal story. It”s such a blessing to hear that your daughter is happy and healthy again. And how amazing that it was possible because of Celanese technology. Very inspiring!

  16. Lu Zhang says:

    Phil, an amazing story. I have heard you talking about the surgery, but did not realize how horrific an ordeal this was for Megan, you and the family, very inspiring!

  17. Karthik Vaideeswaran says:

    Phil – many thanks for sharing a poignant and personal story that is moving and inspiring as is – the fact that Celanese Technology was involved makes it extra sweet. Best wishes to Megan (and her parents)…

  18. Allen Palmer says:

    Phil that”s a great story, and I”m glad Megan is all recovered. Your mother-in-law keeps me
    well posted, and includes photos of recovery.
    We did keep Megan in our prayers.

    God bless the McDivitt family!

  19. Ajay Chandak says:

    Its story of product, courage and commitments.
    All part of Celanese integral value and culture.

    Thanks for sharing…

  20. Sam Bingham says:

    Phil, what an inspiring story of Faith! May the LORD continue to Bless you & your family! Megan is a lucky girl!
    As a professional recruiter, I”ve had the pleasure of placing numerous Sales & Marketing employees with Celanese over the years. Now knowing first hand how these products can change lives is simply awesome!
    Once again GOD bless the McDivitts

  21. Jamie Beggs says:

    Being a parent of 2 children, I can”t fathom what an emotional rollercoaster Megan”s journey must have been, let alone the physical difficulties. What I take away most is the strong family that must have supported her as her pictures show a very beautiful girl with a smile that radiates happiness despite the difficult road she”s been on.

  22. Gabriele Roznovsky says:

    I am touched and inspired by your post. Thank you so much for sharing and all the best to Megan (what a beautiful young lady!) and your family!

  23. Ray Figueroa says:

    Very inspirational story. Today, we complain about the little things kids do wrong, but we never appreciate their resillience to come back from major issues in their lives. Thank God you as parents were attentive enough in your childs life to catch this terrible disease before it was too late. Thank you for sharing…

  24. Kevin Wu says:

    I met Phil”s daughter recently and had good conversation with her.

    She is a happy and warm young lady with lots of energy and enthusiasm. The engineering plastic from our company surely improves her life.

  25. Lily says:

    Thanks for sharing this touching story. It makes me believe our mission “improving the world” is so accessible. Best wishes to Megan!

  26. Hansel Ramathal says:

    Many thanks for sharing this story. At the right time in life, God has brought the right tools together to save your daughter; GUR from Celanese, the skillful surgeons and courageous parents and hopeful daughter. This is indeed an example of collaboration at the highest level resulting in a miracle.

  27. Wendy Johnson says:

    It makes me proud to be part of the AEM Medical team!

    Thank you for sharing the story; we sometimes forget the impact our materials can make on the patient.

    Good luck to your daughter; I hope she can relax and enjoy her life. She has a beautiful future ahead of her!

  28. Monica Cordell-Osborne says:

    What a touching story! Thanks for sharing. I pray that others hear about this amazing story and spread the word. It is great to know that I work for a company that has changed a beautiful young girls life. I know first hand how delibrating it can be to wait and hear about test reports. God Bless to you and your familly.

  29. Chris Collins says:

    What a fantastic and heart felt story. As a parent, I can”t imagine the anxiety, fear, and tears your family went throught from diagnosis to recovery. This is an awe inspiring story that illuminates the importance of technology innovation, the role CE products play in real life applications, and of course your family”s Faith.

  30. Ruth Castillo says:

    Thank you and your family for sharing this story. It is truly inspirational!

    It reminds us “its so much more than just pellets”.

  31. Rick Gregory says:

    Truly an inspirational story, Thanks for sharing Phil! Its great knowing we are all working for a company that can have this kind of impact, not only for own employees and families, but for many worlwide. God bless, and cheers to the happy ending and many wonderful years ahead!

  32. Robi says:

    It”s so nice to know about the good work that Celeanese does! And about how appreciative one family is who benefited from that good work. Thanks to your family for sharing this! We all need good news right now. KUDOS!

  33. Randy Skattum says:

    Thank you, Phil for sharing this story as it is truly inspirational for all of us at Celanese.

    We all know that our people, our products, and our customers leave a positive, lasting impact on the world every day – and we welcome to be a part of the opportunity and the challenge. But, as many before me mentioned, we don’t always get to put a face on that impact – you, Kim, and Megan have – thank you!

  34. Pawan Kumar says:

    Thank you Phil for sharing Megan”s and McDivitt family personal journey. Truly an inspiration for all! Wish Megan and McDivitt family very best.

  35. Jessica Wu says:

    Thanks for sharing this touching story. I belive a daughter would feel very safe and confident to carry the implants that is manufactured by the department leading by her own father.

  36. Tony Dorta says:

    A powerful testimony to be reminded not to take for granted what we do have and the important role plastics/technology have in each of our lives. It”s wonderful to see Megan come out of this with her resolve, strong courage and positve attitude. Phil, with your permisssion I will share this with my church family. Thank you for sharing Megan”s story, and how one of Celanese”s products made a sigficant impact in your daughther”s life. God Bless Megan and the family!

  37. Kassie Hatton says:

    I am very happy that your daughter is o.k. now! She is very strong and inspirational! It is great to hear that our products change so many lives for the better!

  38. Bethany Trapp says:

    Truly an inspiring story that makes going to work have more meaning. So glad our company can have such an amazing impact on so many lives, especially your daughter”s. What a beautiful young lady! Thanks for sharing!

  39. Massimiliano Contin says:

    Touching story…I wish her all the best in life!!
    Nice to see that Celanese”s product could make a difference….a BIG difference!
    Thanks for sharing Your story Phil.

  40. Angi Agócs says:

    Hi Phil,

    thanks for sharing this touching story. I wish you, and your daughter all the best.

    Kind regards,

  41. Joyce Humphrey says:

    Your daughter is both brave and beautiful. It is very inspiring to know that we work for a company that can bring both healing and blessings to mankind.

  42. Debbie says:

    This is the best news that I have read at work since I started here in 2004. Thank you Phil for sharing :) !!

  43. Adriana Giannini says:

    Thank you for sharing a very personal and family journey. I am so glad to hear that we are part of making a difference on people life and what we do matters in the world. I am so glad to see in the pictures Megan”s recovery and how beautiful she is, she is a very brave girl and I pray the best for her and your family. God Bless you.

  44. Cindy Moseley says:


    Thank you so much for sharing this touching story. My daughter is also 14 and I will be sharing your story and pictures with her. What a beautiful daughter with a beautiful smile!

    I am thankful to be part of a company that manufactures so many great products!

  45. Istvan Katona says:

    Phil, thank you for sharing this. As a father of two boys I’m praying for healthy every evening. Nothing can be more important than health of our family.
    This makes me more proud to work for this company. Thank you again, and all the best to you and your family from Hungary.

  46. Kevin Barry says:

    Very touching and heartwarming. Thanks for sharing such an emotional and inspirational story.

  47. Dan Graf says:

    This is awesome! We had a Celanese guar processing plant in my hometown of Vernon TX. when I was growing up. I was amazed at the products that use guar gum in production. My daughter, Lisa Harris, recently went to work for Celanese as an Export Coordinator and loves her job and the company. So proud for your daughter and your family!

  48. Jason Haverland says:


    What a scary situation to go through as a parent( and for your daughter). I am glad to hear that you found a solution close to home. Best wishes for your daughter.

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