Why I Give: 2016

Cancer Care & Infusion Services Touched by Multiple Donations


Almost everyone you know, in some way, has a cancer story to tell. Whether they have supported a loved one with the disease or have had their own battle, cancer reaches into almost every home and every family.
Because it touches so many so personally, it is a disease that makes people want to do something and give back. During the past year, our Cancer Care & Infusion Services (CCIS) department has been the recipient of multiple community donations. We are grateful to all who have given their time, talents and funds to make these donations possible. Your generosity overwhelms us and we are honored to continue to care for you, your friends and family.

  • As her Silver Award project, Girl Scout Rebecca Arnold donated fleece blankets to be distributed through CCIS and the Emergency Department.
  • Cole Western, owner of Ledo Pizza in Leonardtown, presents CCIS a check for $3,334.
  • Shelby Perkins, student activities coordinator for St. Mary’s College of Maryland, delivers chemo care bags assembled by college students.
  • As her Silver Award project, Girl Scout Ashley Olszewski; her brother, Austin; and her parents created comfort bags containing snacks, games, personal care items and more to be distributed to patients.
  • The Leonardtown Business Association donated $683 during its 2016 State of the Town breakfast.

The Art of Giving: Funding Local Causes is a Priority for Leonardtown Couple

Bernie and Nancy Matus share a love of art. It is apparent as soon as you walk into their Leonardtown home. Various works collected during their 48-year marriage hang on the walls side-by-side with pieces created by the couple, watercolors and batik crafted by Nancy and intricate photographic collages created by Bernie. Their love of art is not the only passion they share, they also share a passion for giving.

Bernie and Nancy believe it is important to focus their giving in the community in which they are living. One of the causes the couple currently donates to is the St. Mary’s Hospital Foundation Scholarship Fund. Artwork by Bernie is currently on display in MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital’s Atrium. A percentage of proceeds from any works sold during the show will be donated to the St. Mary’s Hospital. “We like to keep donations more local so that you know the money is going to people that live in the community,” said Bernie. “It is a nice way to see money being used on a local level.”

Bernie is a retired school administrator and Nancy was a dermatologist for more than three decades. Following their retirement, they have been able to spend more time focusing on their hobbies - Nancy has self-published several books related to their family history and Bernie has been able to devote more of his time to his life-long love, photography.  “I love fine arts,” said Bernie, “and one of my favorite print artists is Robert Rauschenberg. I used to study his works and I realized I could do that with a computer, so I developed my own techniques.”

This fall, Bernie’s works – intricate collages created from marrying multiple images - will be on display at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital, and a percentage of the sales will be donated back to the scholarship fund. “I know how important the hospital is to the welfare of the community,” said Nancy, “and I think what is nice about MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital is that they have the scholarship program to help students who may not otherwise be able to go to school and learn these skills.”

Meditation Room Renovations in Memory of Stephen C. Nystrom, CDR, USN

A shiny gold-toned plaque on the wall inscribed with the words “Meditation room renovations in memory of Stephen C. Nystrom, CDR, USN” represents the special gift he left for others who long for a quiet moment of reflection during difficult times. Marianna Nystrom revisited MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital recently for a small gathering to sanctify the space where she and her grown children had spent many hours while her husband was sick. 

“In January, my daughter, son and I received beautiful, loving care from staff,” explained Marianna. “During our time at the hospital, we couldn’t help but notice the condition of the room next door (the chapel) was in contrast to this one (the meditation room). When Marianna’s husband passed, she said it was her daughter who suggested they set up a fund to help renovate the space in lieu of flowers. “In his final days, hospice didn’t have room for my husband,” said Marianna. “Essentially, staff on the third floor gave him hospice and palliative care and took care of us. Because he received such incredible care, we really wanted to do something.”

Generous donations from friends and family allowed the meditation room to be renovated with a new coat of paint, a table lamp for ambient lighting, covered storage benches for seating and artwork by artist Karen Russell. “That art piece (hanging on the left wall as you walk in) is called “One”,” shared Marianna. “I see planets, the universe, diversity and that’s what my husband believed.  He believed in the great mystery.”