Meet Mary Billington
Executive Director, Jennifer Bires, spends the afternoon talking with Mary Billington about her journey and the Smith Center for Healing and the Arts.
J: Will you tell us a little bit about how you first heard about Smith Center?
M: Sure, I actually first came to the Smith Center a little over a year ago. I was in the middle of a year of treatment and kind of in a weird moment in that treatment where while I had been treating up in New York and commuting back and forth, my family lives in New York, for the second half of treatment I was just here, in DC. Taking chemo pills, by myself and without my immediate family around me and that felt very isolated all of a sudden. Which was a new experience for me. And also going back to work full time and trying to juggle all that.
So I was kind of feeling a lot of anxiety through the experience so just decided that I needed some additional support. Which was interesting for me because I’ve been at this cancer thing for almost 30 years now. And that was the first moment where I really did feel vulnerable and kind of in need an additional community.
So I really just Googled and was trying to understand what was out there in DC. Smith Center was the first thing that came up and it was really funny for me to realize because it’s located at exactly the mid-point between my apartment and my office.
I don’t exactly walk by every day but I walk within half a block and the fact that I just didn’t even realize but also it was also so clear to me that it was convenient on so many levels so it was a great fit.
I was actually really frustrated when I first looked it up because I think I had just missed a support group so it was like you have to wait two weeks or maybe it was during the summer so it was a whole month or something. And I was like oh my God but I need it!
So anyways, I knew that as soon as programming started rolling around again I was right here and started doing support groups and yoga and all that kind of stuff. And you haven’t been able to get rid of me since.