Person of the Week: Mary Woodall

April 24, 2009 12:54:44 PM PDT
Mary Woodall is a humble lady who's content behind the scenes. But she's actually one of the main forces behind Duke's Angels Among Us fundraiser.Woodall got involved 16 years ago when her son got very sick.

"The first event was in March before Christopher died in May. And he was in the hospital, but made them let him out of the hospital to go to the walk," she told Eyewitness News.

Christopher was 20-years-old when doctors found a malignant brain tumor. His battle with cancer lasted 18 months. Woodall is still going on.

"I feel like I'm carrying on Christopher's fight against brain tumors," she explained.

Each year, the Angels fundraiser gets bigger and bigger - drawing thousands from across the country.

"The Angels event is sort of a day of support because it's all these families and friends, patients coming together," said Woodall.

But while the event lasts a day, Woodall works year-round to pull it off.

"These teams are working all year to raise money for this event and they look for advice, they look for some help, assistance, they're looking for information and you've got to be there for them," she said.

Woodall always is, and with her guidance, those teams have raised millions of dollars. It's money that only goes to brain tumor research at Duke.

"I guess I'm beginning to realize more and more every year that it really is making a difference and the money that's coming in from Angels makes a difference," said Woodall.

Duke doctors agree and say Woodall tireless effort makes her a hero.

"Mary's just a very special person. I mean to come from a tragedy and emerge from that intact and not only be intact but help other families as they battle the same kinds of illnesses that have to rekindle in her the kinds of emotions that she felt with her own family member, her own son, it takes a rather heroic person. She's one of our heroes," offered Neuro-Oncologist Henry Friedman.

Woodall doesn't see herself that way, but she admits the work can get to her.

"There are times it's hard and there are times I think 'you know, I wish they had this when Christopher was sick,' but they didn't, you know, and I guess I feel like I'm helping others that are going through the same thing," she explained.

And Woodall plans to keep helping as long as there's a need and as long as her efforts give others hope.

"It's exciting to see the progress and you know that what you're doing is making a difference," she said.

It's not too late to take part in the Angels Among Us 5k and family fun walk. Click here for more information

And Click here to nominate someone to be our Person of the Week.


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