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Wellness | A Story Of Survival From Central Maryland Radiation Oncology

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Donna Hennessy

As a partner in a leading-edge marketing firm for over 17 years, Donna Hennessy knows the power of a compelling ad testimonial. Until now, she never thought she’d be the focal point of one. Donna has dense breasts – common in over 40 percent of the female population – and she insisted on having a 3D mammogram, which can better detect breast cancer in women with dense breasts. The results showed something suspicious, and a biopsy confirmed the tumor was early-stage breast cancer.

Donna had the mass removed as soon as possible. After her surgery, it was recommended that she go through a course of radiation to kill remaining cancer cells. Since radiation therapy requires frequent trips to and from a facility, she wanted to find a place where she could receive her treatment close to home. Her surgeon recommended radiation oncologist Dr. Sally B. Cheston, medical director of Central Maryland Radiation Oncology (CMRO). After one phone call with Dr. Cheston, “I knew CMRO was the right place to receive my treatment,” says Donna. “I was planning to go for a second opinion but canceled the appointment after that conversation.”

CMRO is a collaboration between Johns Hopkins Medicine and the University of Maryland Medical Center, offering the latest in radiation oncology treatments and clinical trials typically found at academic medical centers.

Donna spent several hours with Dr. Cheston during her initial consultation. “By the end of the appointment, it felt like I was chatting with an old friend,” Donna says with a smile. She became so close with the entire treatment team during her time at CMRO and treasures the group picture she took with everyone on her last day of therapy. “I really miss them!” adds Donna. “Everyone from the front desk managers to the therapists was really kind.”

Now, with her radiation treatments behind her, Donna has big plans for her future. When she’s not at home with her husband and kids or creating the next big marketing campaign for her clients, you’ll find her working on Meals that Heal, a program she started for patients with cancer who are undergoing treatment and are in need of an extra set of hands. “It’s my way of giving back,” Donna says.

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