Helping others has always been a way of life for Emily McCarthy. As a teenager, she was a member of the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, a youth organization that teaches leadership through community service.
And since 1973, she has been one of 21,000 members of the Pennsylvania Grand Chapter of the Order of the Eastern Star, which strives for unselfish giving for the good of the world.
This year, McCarthy is the Worthy Grand Matron in the organization, which allowed her to designate where some of the money raised by the Order of the Eastern Star was donated. She chose liver and pancreatic cancer research at Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“The contributions will support research for patients with critical diseases and new avenues for treatment and recovery,” McCarthy says.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, McCarthy has always been aware of the reputation of The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. Just 75 minutes away by car, McCarthy has visited the hospital numerous times throughout her career as a nurse case manager. In 2016, however, she had to make an unexpected visit for herself.
McCarthy had been admitted to a community hospital in her home state with intense abdominal pain. Following a CT scan, the physicians were unable to arrive at a diagnosis or provide treatment options. “I requested a transfer to Hopkins and an ambulance to take me there for treatment,” she says.
When McCarthy arrived at the downtown Baltimore hospital, Matthew Weiss, a liver and pancreas surgeon, had already reviewed her medical records, arrived at a diagnosis and was ready to discuss her treatment options. McCarthy decided to have radiation and then surgery to remove the benign mass on her liver.
“Everyone who walked over the threshold of the door in the hospital room was pleasant and caring,” says McCarthy. “Because I am a registered nurse, they discussed the plan of care with me and were respectful of my years of experience, asking for my input and opinion.”
Today, she no longer suffers from abdominal pain and sees Weiss for semiannual checkups. She continues working as a nurse case manager and serving through the Order of the Eastern Star.
“Many members of our order have been touched by the medical diseases Dr. Weiss’ practice is based on,” says McCarthy. “That is why we were able to raise the donations. It is a wonderful facility and has always been on the cutting edge.”