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At the age of thirteen, a diagnosis of bone cancer in her left leg forced Mary to leave her boarding school in Bryn Mawr to receive the new and very experimental treatment of radiation. This turned into a life altering experience, as her leg was badly burned, permanently injured, and she suffered from radiation poisoning. She had constant pain in her leg for the rest of her life. In her eighties, she reported being startled awake from a sound sleep, because she was briefly without pain.
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