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|Newsletters: In Memory of Mary Patnode|
In Memory of Mary Patnode (July 18, 1950 - April 18, 2014)
It is with overwhelming sadness that we share the news of Mary Patnode’s death (April 18, 2014). Mary was a delightful woman. It was a pleasure to know and work with her. Her leadership as President of the Oley Foundation Board of Directors was outstanding and we will miss her terribly.
Many of you knew Mary from Oley conferences. She was such a presence! A home parenteral nutrition (HPN) consumer, she often spoke at the conference about her experiences and coping techniques. Whether you met her at lunch or at the registration table, her warm smile, great listening skills, and generous spirit would quickly make you feel at home and comfortable seeking advice.
Mary served on the Oley Foundation Board of Directors for several years, and as president of the Board since 2011. She volunteered with HPEN consumers long before that. Mary started on HPN in 1980 due to Crohn’s disease and short bowel syndrome, and within a few years was active in a support group in Minneapolis, where she lived. She joined the Lifeline Foundation, and then the Oley Foundation when the two organizations merged into one. She was an Oley Ambassador from 1986 to 2014. Think of the hundreds (maybe even thousands?) of lives she must have influenced.
In an article in the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access in 2012, Mary wrote, “‘Survivor,’ ‘lifer,’ ‘long-termer,’ ‘patient,’ ‘consumer,’ and ‘HPNer’ are all labels I could wear. After 32 years of receiving HPN, it is difficult to distinguish where the catheter ends and I begin….Following 15 years of struggling with malnutrition and repeated surgeries…, HPN promised the benefits of consistent energy, although intrusive and carrying its own risks….I kept my daily ‘date’ with ‘Hyper-Al’ faithfully and was able to pursue a career, finish an advanced degree, work full time, buy a home, participate socially, get married, and enjoy a family that came to me complete with children and grandchildren. I still ‘connect’ every day and I do make compromises, but they fade in light of the benefits of having regular, adequate nutrition.”
She continued, “I’m lucky to have had consistent access to the best resource team available, and I find I learn so much from others receiving HPN. The Oley Foundation…has introduced me to a wealth of survivor stories—individuals who rise to meet challenges and face what could be debilitating circumstances. I especially respect the informed and articulate young people who exercise their independence to explore the world with an adventuresome spirit while living with HPN. They are asking questions I didn’t even consider. They encourage others with their presence, enthusiasm, and high expectations.” [Click to read Mary’s article, posted here with the permission of the Journal of the Association for Vascular Access.]
Mary, too, encouraged others with her “presence, enthusiasm, and high expectations.” She was an exceptional woman, and she will be missed greatly.
If you’d like to share any of your memories about Mary, we’d be happy to share them with her family. E-mail Cathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LifelineLetter, May/June 2014