Jack alongside his wife, Mary, and their grandkids.
On Oct. 9, 2023, Jack Barto lost his loving wife Mary after her battle with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS). More than just an amazing wife, mother and grandmother, Mary was a life-long exercise enthusiast, golfer, personal trainer, runner and dedicated a lot of her time to various charities.
“She was open, warm, empathetic, kind—she lit up every room she was in,” said Jack. “Everyone thought she was their best friend.”
Every moment counts
In 2022, Mary received a diagnosis of MDS. Initially after her diagnosis, she was feeling relatively healthy and NMDPSM was able to find Mary a donor in Germany. However, when it came time for the blood stem cell transplant in March 2023, Mary hit a major setback. Everything needed to be postponed due to airstrikes in Germany.
During this time, Mary’s MDS turned into acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a very aggressive form of leukemia. “Stem cell transplant is hard and debilitating—not for the faint of heart. She kept a good attitude the whole time though,” said Jack.
In May 2023, Mary received her blood stem cell transplant. It gave her more moments with her family which they treasure dearly.
“The people making the decision to go through the transplant process are unbelievably brave, but they want to spend more time with their loved ones, “Jack explained.
Jack’s goal is to add more donors to the NMDP RegistrySM so more lives can be saved.
In honor of Mary
To express gratitude for NMDP’s role in Mary’s treatment, Jack decided to fundraise for NMDP by participating in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This not only honored Mary, but also brought back beautiful memories of her passion for running for a cause.
Through the collective efforts of Jack and Mary’s network of family and friends, over $24,000 was raised for “Team Nana.” Jack’s hope is that these funds can help recruit more donors to the registry, helping families spend more time with their loved ones. Jack knows first hands how precious time can be.
“They’re (NMDP) giving people the greatest gift of all which is life,” he said.