Fighting cancer through fashion and friendship

When two women named Mary met during an interior design class more than 15 years ago, they realized that they had much more than a shared name and heritage in common. Mary Daugherty had recently arrived from Ireland and knew “not a single soul in Annapolis” besides her husband.

Mary Holt, a fashion-forward Annapolitan, approached her during their first night of class and said, “Are you Irish? Because I’m Irish, and I think we should be friends.”

And so their story began.

Holt took Daugherty under her wing, and they became fast friends.

“She was the best dressed, most fashionable person in the room, so I knew we would make great friends,” recalls Daugherty.

A diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Over the years, the two Marys supported one another through several life challenges. Now, 15 years later, Holt is facing the biggest challenge of her life, stage 4 ovarian cancer.

Daugherty is standing by her side and helping to lift her longtime friend’s spirit.

“Mary is one of the kindest, most loving people I know. She has helped me so much over the years. I had to figure out a way to help her and show my support,” Daugherty says.

Sadly, Holt was all too familiar with ovarian cancer prior to her own diagnosis. She spent countless hours at AAMC’s Geaton and JoAnn DeCesaris Cancer Institute during her mother’s ovarian cancer treatments. Now several years later, she is undergoing her own treatments for the exact same illness.

“The doctors, nurses and staff here took such good care of my mom. I too, have had a wonderful journey at AAMC. My relationships with my doctors and nurses carry on long after treatment. I visit them whenever I am at the hospital,” she says.

Fortunately, her ovarian cancer was diagnosed at a very early stage. After undergoing treatment, she was declared cancer free, rang the iconic bell in AAMC’s Infusion Center, and went on her way.

“The staff at AAMC’s Infusion Center is amazing. The simple gesture of wrapping a blanket around me, made me feel both safe and comforted,” Holt says.

The fight continues

But after eight short weeks, her cancer returned. With her second round of treatment underway, her fight continues.

“I have become a very private person, so it is difficult for me to talk about my illness, but I feel it’s important to tell my story, so that other women will be aware of the signs. With early detection many, many lives can be saved,” she says.

Fashion has connected the two Marys from the very beginning, so Daugherty figured it was the perfect way to help Holt.

She is hosting a LuLaRoe fundraiser to benefit the DeCesaris Cancer Institute. The proceeds from her event will support women’s cancer services and a special purpose fund to help buy groceries, cover childcare, provide transportation and more to women in need who are undergoing cancer treatment at AAMC.

You can shop online through June 1.

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