Mary M. Gooley was born in Watertown, and after briefly attending the University of Michigan, Ms. Gooley selflessly decided to drop out and return home to nurse her ailing father. This experience inspired her to become a medical technician. She trained under the guidance of Dorothy White, a nurse at Rochester General Hospital, and this relationship would be the start of wonderful and challenging future endeavors.
In the course of their clinic work, Ms. Gooley and Ms. White noticed a population of patients with a very debilitating blood disorder called hemophilia, who were in great need of additional care. Upon forming a bond with the mother of one of these patients, Dorthea Golemb, the three women decided to do something more for the hemophilia population. They organized a group of families, which in 1953 evolved into the Rochester Chapter of the National Hemophilia Foundation. In 1959, the members of the chapter board asked Ms. Gooley to establish a dedicated hemophilia treatment center to care for them and their children.
Determined and resourceful, Ms. Gooley worked tirelessly to obtain treatment for the patients. She had her work cut out for her – as a woman without a college degree in an era where women had to work extra hard, she was challenged with finding scarce resources for a rare medical condition. Ms. Gooley’s determination helped her prevail as she succeeded in fighting administrators for a small clinic space and educating everyone around her on the needs of hemophilia patients. Hers became one of the first freestanding hemophilia treatment centers in the nation.
Ms. Gooley led the Center until her retirement in 1986. During that time, the Center was recognized nationally for its progressive model of care and advocacy for patients. She stayed active with the Center for many years on the Board of Directors and became a recognized national leader in blood disorders.