Amazing Woman of the Suncoast
by MONIKA TEMPLEMAN, LWRWC Publicity Co-Chair
On April 20th, Linda Carson taped a riveting interview with MaryLee that was aired on the ABC News on Monday April 27th at 6:00 PM and repeated at sunrise and noon the next day. The taped interview lasted over 30 minutes and revealed fascinating insights about MaryLee’s truly amazing life. Due to the time constraints of network programming, only a short portion of the interview was actually aired. So here is the rest of the story about LWRWC’s amazing Suncoast woman – MaryLee Danahy
MaryLee was born and raised in Buffalo, NY. She attended Mercy Hospital School of Nursing because she had an interest in medicine and helping people in need. She met her husband of 50 years, Paul Danahy, in college. Paul was a pre-med student and they first met in front of the Anatomy Lab. MaryLee confided, however, that she had seen and liked Paul even before they officially met. They were married four years later while Paul was attending medical school in Rochester, New York. MaryLee and her husband volunteered at a Clinic for Migrant Workers. While Paul studied medicine, they shared a care to help make ends meet. MaryLee worked as a young nurse at Veterans Hospital in NY. She primarily worked with burn victims, colostomy patients and orthopedic patients. MaryLee enjoyed assisting the orthopedic surgeons. Paul also developed a keen interest in orthopedic surgery.
MaryLee and Paul started a family early and had three beautiful children (a son and two daughters). MaryLee took a hiatus from nursing to focus on her family, but returned to work when her youngest child was in kindergarten. After completing medical school, Paul served two years in the Military and his love of orthopedic surgery grew. After serving his country, Paul realized the tremendous need for orthopedic surgeons in the southern tier of New York and wanted to fill the void. He asked MaryLee to work with him and start a practice in Jamestown New York. MaryLee agreed and even went back to College to take accounting and practice management courses so she could manage the business end of the practice in addition to working as the orthopedic nurse. Paul never wanted to know about a patient’s insurance coverage. He helped people in need, whether or not he was reimbursed. Paul and MaryLee enjoyed working together in their medical practice for 29 years!
When the grandchildren started coming, MaryLee wanted to be “a grandma on the go” and decided it was time to retire. She always felt blessed and continued to want to give back to the community. She got involved with Crèche Organization to help with fundraising for needy children in Jamestown, NY. At age 63, Paul was still working approximately 70 hours a week and was not ready to retire. MaryLee felt it was time for him to consider his own heath and slow down. MaryLee and Paul decided to move to Florida and made their new home in Lakewood Ranch. As they did in New York, they both felt a need to give back to their new community. Paul teaches and works with young medical students. MaryLee got involved in her Neighborhood Governance and became the Chair of her Neighborhood Committee. Her primary goal was to make the neighborhood a welcoming and friendly place that was conducive to friendship and goodwill among neighbors.
Like most LWRWC members, MaryLee joined the Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club because she was looking for a way to make a difference in her entire community. LWRWC was the answer and she filled a crucial void by taking over as the LWRWC Membership Chair. For almost four years she helped the club grow from just over 200 members to approximately 350 strong! During that time she served as a member of the LWRWC Board. She truly believes in the fun in fundraising and currently serves as a member of the LWRWC Philanthropy Committee.