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Roles Reversed: Meet The Osts

When you spend a few minutes with Darwin and Mary Ost, it doesn’t take long to see their marriage is still as exciting today as it was 25 years ago. Darwin and Mary are best friends who spend most of their time laughing together and raising a beautiful family.

In 2019 Darwin participated in his first Empire State Ride. With Mary as his cheerleader, Darwin absolutely crushed his first year, raising over $6,000 for cancer research at Roswell Park. Shortly after returning from the ESR, it was Darwin’s turn to be the cheerleader for Mary as she received the words that no one ever wants to hear.

Her journey began in May 2019, when she started experiencing back pain. As the pain progressed, Mary sought help from doctors, but initially no one was able to find anything. Eventually her family practitioner sent her to a general surgeon for a lipoma on her back, thinking that could be the source of the pain. The general surgeon did not agree and sent Mary for an MRI. Two days later she had the test, and within hours she received a call instructing her to go directly to the emergency room at Buffalo General Medical Center. The doctors came in and informed her that she had a destructive mass on her spine, and she would be admitted. After biopsies were completed, Mary was released to go home on bed rest. One week after being admitted to the hospital, Mary was informed she had large B cell lymphoma.

After her diagnosis, Mary called Roswell Park right away. Within a few hours of that phone call, she was informed that she had several appointments scheduled for the following week. “Monday, we met with Dr. Suchitra Sundaram in the lymphoma clinic, then a whirlwind week where a PET scan, CT scan, port installation and the first cycle of chemo were performed,” Mary said. “They informed me that I would be on R-CHOP for treatment and that there were six cycles, each three weeks apart. After the sixth treatment there was an additional three weeks when we waited for a third PET scan and then the results.”

When we asked how she got through her diagnosis, Mary described herself as a jokester. “When my husband had just brought me home from that initial stay at Buffalo General, I started cracking jokes about ‘having the cancers.’” Throughout her entire cancer journey, Mary’s positivity held strong. “I just set my mind that it was no big deal; so what, I am sick; they know what they are doing, and I will be fixed.

“I was told I was in remission and rang the bell on February 13.”

Mary will be welcoming our riders home as they cross the finish line this year. She does not have the words to express how grateful she is for the 250+ cyclists who will be riding across the state and raising money for patients like her. For now, Mary leaves us with her mantra: “Have fun and be awesome.”