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About Of Interest in Montgomery County

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media as well as a dance teacher, choreographer and proud former homeschooler. Her blog will uncover the untold stories of Montgomery County and introduce diverse people and businesses of interest in the community. She can be reached... Read more

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Women’s History Month Profile: Marie Maffey

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re profiling influential women who are giving back to the communities of Montgomery County in various ways.Luca visit.Stuart and Don wedding 107

Read below to learn more about Marie Maffey, program director of Hope Connections for Cancer Support in Montgomery County.

What is your role in the community?

“Through my work at Hope Connections for Cancer Support I help people with cancer and their loved ones deal with the emotional and physical impact of cancer.  I do this by, among other things, creating and managing free programs of emotional support, wellness and education.  Our name illustrates the mission of our nonprofit organization.

Collaboration with other organizations serving those affected by cancer is providing the means of reaching more people in our community.  In addition to our lovely home base in Bethesda, we now offer programming at the new Aquilino Cancer Center in Gaithersburg and in April will be doing the same at Medstar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney.  We are very excited for this opportunity to reach further into our local neighborhoods, providing greatly needed support.”

What does Women’s History Month mean to you? 

“I’ve had the good fortune to have grown in the midst of strong, capable and independent women.  I’ve needed no convincing of the value of and impact made by my gender.  Still, because our past has, and continues to be recorded in large part by men, there is clearly a value in highlighting the many and varied achievements made by our fair sex.  My hope is that we take this time to appreciate not only the noisy cannon ball splashes, but also the impact of the quiet far reaching ripples.”

What inspires you?

As a young girl, I loved reading the story of Marie Curie, the scientist and first woman to win the Nobel Prize.  However, the women who have impressed me most are not found in Wikipedia.  Take my mother.  At 85 years old, she continues to paint, build furniture, stay involved with church and family and create new relationships.  The mother of eight, she is grand and great grandmother to many.

Or there’s my blind sister-in-law, the mother of five who became a widow twenty years ago when my brother died of melanoma. A lifetime volunteer, my brother’s death resulted in her need to earn income and she is now the lauded director of a nationally recognized non-profit. She daily takes several buses in New England weather commuting to her job.

Were it not for my professional position, my input for this article would not have been requested. While I’m proud of the very worthy and honorable work I do, it pales in comparison to the contributions I’ve made as the mother of six. I was a stay at home mother for many years. Truly, I don’t need my own history month to know that women are awesome.”

What do you think needs to happen most for women in Montgomery County? 

“I say more flexibility and choice.  Embrace measures that support and safeguard family relationships.  From childcare to eldercare, this is what it’s all about.”

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Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).


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