Growing up Mary had a chronic cough and a runny nose. At the age of 17 she started working for her allergist. She would cough so much that patients would joke that she should see a good allergist for that cough. She finally had a chest X-ray which showed she had lung damage called Bronchiectasis. She was referred to a pulmonologist and after going through a series of tests it was determined that the Bronchiectasis was caused by a rare genetic disorder called Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia (PCD). Mary's parents immediately took her sister in for testing as she had similar symptoms. She too had PCD.

In 2013 Mary and her sister were at their pulmonologist appointments (they usually went together as they had the same doctor). They were both prescribed supplemental oxygen. Mary needed it for exertion, but her sister needed it 24/7.

Mary's sister called her several days later in tears. She'd just received her first oxygen delivery of some tanks and a home unit. She told the delivery guy there weren't enough tanks to get her through work that week, and he replied that "people on oxygen don't work." This was the start of Mary's advocacy work to raise awareness of supplemental oxygen issues and to change attitudes toward those on supplemental oxygen.

To do this, Mary started doing 5Ks, 10Ks and half marathons, with the goal of doing a race in every state. To do these races though, Mary has to carry a 6-pound portable oxygen concentrator (POC). In 2019, Mary completed the New York Marathon. Her husband walked the marathon with her, carrying 4 pounds of extra batteries for her POC.

Mary still works full-time, although retirement is just around the corner. She enjoys traveling with her husband.

Page last updated: September 18, 2023

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