Margy was a play therapist for nineteen years at a pediatric oncology outpatient clinic in Northern Virginia. The children referred to her as the PLAY LADY and the title remained because it best described what she did to make the long, lonely, and tedious hours in the clinic more manageable. Children of all ages, teenagers, and young adults received chemotherapy, infusions of red blood cells, platelets, and ivlgG in the clinic.
The psychosocial diversions Margy provided in the clinic’s large playroom varied from week to week. Children could create using such things as fuse beads, paint, and glue and their handprints and artwork filled the walls. Holidays and the seasons were celebrated and Margy was able to keep the playroom decorated year-round. Children were encouraged to bring a photograph of themselves to put on the playroom’s Tree of Life and a picture of a pet to display in the playroom’s Pet Park. In addition, Margy coordinated pizza parties, sundae afternoons, BINGO, and gift card Tuesdays. She understood that children with cancer needed the opportunity to socialize with each other, and when they did, they seemed happier and their quality of life improved. The laughter, energized talking, singing, and celebrating in the playroom were therapeutic.
In 1998, Margy became a founding member of a 501c3 called Growing Hope. Growing Hope (GH) was created in loving memory of Karen, who was diagnosed with cancer at five years of age. Karen had the vision that children and their families should have access to fun community-based activities. Therefore, GH was born to fill a void by providing supportive, non-medical care to children with cancer and their families in the Northern Virginia area. GH celebrated its twentieth year of service in 2018. Margy is proud to say that all funds donated to GH went directly toward activities and financial assistance for children with cancer.
Margy coordinated five major events each year for GH, which included trips to Kings Dominion, the Big Apple Circus, Ringling Bros. Circus, the Ice Capades, and a holiday party and spring picnic. She was responsible for GH administrative work, for fundraising, interfacing with children and families at events, as well as distributing tickets, scholarships, financial assistance, and mini wishes. Through Margy’s work as a play therapist and as the past director of the GH board, she stands behind Mattie Miracle’s vision and is committed to ensuring that comprehensive cancer care include psychosocial support.