Patricia “Trish” Mackey and her husband, Michael, love nothing more than to rally friends and family around their dining room table for an evening of lively conversation and fabulous food. For a period of time, they hosted an annual gathering in which they whipped up huge spreads fit for royalty, asking only that their guests leave a small donation for the local food bank the couple supported. After several years, the annual dinner party fell to the wayside, having outgrown the venue and exhausted bandwidth.
However, after Trish, a triage nurse at Duke, was unexpectedly diagnosed last year with stage 4 adenocarcinoma in her lung, the onetime family feast made a resurgence, taking on magnified significance and new direction.
“Trish’s diagnosis was a shock,” said Michael, a schoolteacher who for some years also operated a deli at Duke University School of Law. “When we got past the momentary disbelief we began to think hard about how we could make a difference.”
Since their marriage 41 years ago, bonding time for the couple has always revolved around cooking. Michael, also known to the family as the “sous chef,” and Trish find some of their most meaningful moments together in the kitchen. Throughout the years, they've used their hosting and culinary talents to give back to their community. In the throes of chemotherapy treatment to keep her cancer at bay, Trish hatched a plan to bring back the annual dinner party—this time to raise funds to defeat cancer.
“I’m so very grateful for the wonderful care I’ve received at Duke, and I want everyone to have access to this level of care,” shared Trish. “Michael and I wanted to do something that would express our gratitude and also help to keep lung cancer research moving forward.”