Mary Kay was the 4th child in a family of 5 girls, living in Potomac Maryland. At the age of 14, she was excited to be a Freshman at Georgetown Visitation in Washington DC where two of her older sisters were attending. In the fall of her Freshman year, she started to feel unusually tired and would frequently run a low grade fever. Even though she quite didn’t feel like herself, she made the JV Field Hockey team. She was thrilled! After many doctors’ visits and tests, an x-ray revealed a large tumor the size of a grapefruit in her chest. Mary Kay received two rounds of radiation and many rounds of chemotherapy at Georgetown and during that time she went through several periods of remission and relapse.
Despite all of this, her zest for life and her flourishing social life never faltered. Throughout the two and a half years of her illness, she had incredible support from her family, friends and the Georgetown Visitation Community. One cherished memory of the dedication of her Visitation friends was when the Gold/White parade route made a detour through the Georgetown Hospital Pediatric Floor so that she wouldn’t miss out on the fun. The doctors and nurses at Georgetown not only looked after Mary Kay’s medical needs, but through their positive approach they helped her realize that she could fight this disease with courage and still enjoy her high school experience. While Mary Kay underwent a lot of treatment in those 2 ½ years, she spent just as much time going to school, dances, parties and socializing with her wide network of friends. Her Primary Oncologist, Dr. Jay Greenberg, treated Mary Kay like she was normal healthy child, never giving her permission to allow her disease diminish her upbeat personality and positive outlook.
Unfortunately, the complex nature and location of her tumor made the cancer difficult to overcome, and in January of 1986, Mary Kay lost her life to the disease. We felt blessed that despite being diagnosed with cancer in her Freshman year, Mary Kay was able to live the life of a normal high school student up until the end. We will forever be grateful to the Georgetown doctors and nurses for their unending compassion and support.