Mary Ryan was a visible and involved member of the Dallas Media Community for many years. She began her career as a syndicator and then as regional NSM based in Dallas. She was a dedicated professional but beyond that, a friend to many.
In 2008, Mary was diagnosed with Melanoma. She went through chemotherapy, radiation, multiple surgeries and fought her way to remission. Mary had no family in Dallas and was recently divorced. She had a large circle of friends, but didn’t want to inconvenience anyone. She had great insurance but needed some help and turned to DREAM Fund. She didn’t need much, just some help around the house, rides to doctor appointments and someone to keep her steady as she walked around the block.
DREAM Fund was there.
It was during this time that Mary said, “DREAM Fund quite literally saved my life”.
What seemed small to us was everything to Mary.
In 2011, Mary agreed to be part of our 20th Anniversary video. She was funny, sarcastic and grateful in our video. We were grateful too. She had fought and won her cancer battle.
In 2013, Mary’s cancer returned, more violent and fierce than before and the news was grim. It seemed that the tumors in her brain and lungs were in a foot race with each other and she was only given weeks to months to live. This time Mary was unemployed and her financial resources had been drained during her first battle. A long journey ahead of her, Mary feared the worst and reached out to DREAM Fund once again.
DREAM Fund was there.
Aside from providing financially for Mary’s medical care, DREAM Fund created a schedule to provide transportation to and from doctor appointments and in home care. Mary had around the clock care; her family came from out of town, a DREAM Fund provided caregiver, friends, colleagues and DREAM Fund volunteers. Mary had a string of visitors, an endless supply of groceries and smoothies to keep up her strength. Mary did her part too, with her trademark sense of humor intact, she fought hard. Her spirit and strength were an inspiration and at times, it was difficult to understand how she could remain so positive.
The day that everyone feared came and we were told that Mary was losing her battle. She was released to hospice care; her siblings, beloved cats and DREAM Fund family were with her until the end. Her last few days were filled with love, music, laughter and she was surrounded by friends and family.
Mary was never alone. New friendships were formed. We were forever changed.
Mary gave new meaning to what we do, how we help and a deeper connection to our mission.