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The one hundred honoree: Mary and Rich Shertenlieb

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Mary and Rich Shertenlieb

Mass General Giving

What Mary Shertenlieb thought was a touch of the flu turned out to be acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a rare diagnosis for a 37-year-old woman. Throughout her two-year battle with the disease, Mary and her husband, Rich, co-host of the sports radio talk show “Toucher and Rich” in Boston, shared their triumphs and struggles with his listeners, educating them about this aggessive cancer.

Mary, Rich and their two boys, ages five and two, were about to go to Disneyland in February 2013 when they learned she had AML. Mary immediately began treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Under the care of a team led by Robert Soiffer, MD, chief of Hematologic Malignancies, she fought through two relapses and underwent a stem cell transplant.

Rich described each step of her journey to his loyal audience, and when she was able, Mary joined him on the program. The couple experienced a groundswell of support in return.

“Their willingness to talk openly about their situation helped provide hope to those diagnosed with AML and inspired others to donate to cancer research,” says one nominator.

Mary, now cancer-free, and Rich continue to advocate for cancer research, acting as spokespeople for the Jimmy Fund and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. In addition to their awareness-building work, they have raised more than $50,000 for both organizations.

In the summer of 2015, Mary and Rich finally took their boys to Disneyland.