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Published on December 26, 2015

An unexpected bequest to help others

An unexpected bequest to help others

Teresa “Terry” Dooley loved her job as a respiratory therapist at Cape Cod Hospital, where she worked for 35 years.300

“She was devoted to helping people and the people she worked with,” according to her sister, Ann Marie Dooley.

One of the things that made Terry very proud was being chosen for employee of the month at the hospital, said her sister. She made a point of showing Ann Marie the picture in the hospital’s lobby.

But Terry’s life took an unexpected turn in 2010, when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She continued to work as a clinical coordinator for the cardio-pulmonary department at the hospital, while going through chemotherapy treatments. Even the week before she died, in 2012, she went into the office to complete her work.

But Terry’s generosity and legacy of caring did not stop with her death. She made sure her love for the hospital and her patients would live on through a bequest to the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation.

Bequests are usually planned gifts, but in Terry’s case, it was a surprise, according to Nancy Leanues, executive director of gift planning for the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation. Ann Marie visited Nancy’s office unannounced one day to let her know that Terry had remembered the healthcare system in her will. The check was accompanied by a picture of Terry.

“The picture is a constant reminder to me of how giving Terry was,” Nancy said. “It is also a reminder of how generous Cape Codders are to both hospitals. In my position, I am a witness to that every day.”

Throughout her life, Terry worked to help others, her sister said. Outside of the hospital, Terry’s altruistic nature continued through her charitable work with community programs at the Brewster Unitarian Church, especially the homeless program. “We would make food to bring to the homeless shelter in Hyannis,” said Ann Marie.

Terry was a runner and ran the Boston Marathon, as well as many local races. She particularly enjoyed running with family and friends in the Woodshed Brew Run in Brewster, which benefits the Brewster Rescue and Safety. Her team continues the tradition in her memory each year.

To commemorate Terry’s caring and generosity to the hospital, a department has been named for her. The Teresa J. Dooley Memorial Blood Gas Lab memorializes her dedication, loyalty and charity to all who enter through those doors for care and treatment.