The REAL Mary…

So who is the real Mary, you ask? Mary’s Café is named after Mary Gambone, my incredible mother. While nearly every mother loves their child and children keep their mothers in a special place in their hearts,the real Mary and I are especially close, as we both love so many of the same things! My fondest childhood memories were spent in the kitchen learning to cook with my mother.

Both of my parents lived to give their kids an amazing childhood. Sometimes however, road blocks can stop you right in your tracks; this is no time to give up, but instead a time to hold onto those closest to you and overcome each obstacle. This is a lesson I learned from my Mom and Dad and will always remember in life.

When I was just 5 weeks old, my parents hit a road block. After a month of falling in love with their second baby boy, my parents woke one morning to a sick child. They immediately rushed me to St Christopher’s Hospital in Philadelphia, fearing the worst and praying for a miracle. That miracle did come, and after several months in the hospital, I survived. The diagnosis was a blocked ureter which caused my kidneys to fail. My parents left the hospital knowing that I only had about 10% of function in my left kidney, while my function in my right kidney was completely unusable.

My parents quickly learned all they could about my health concerns, and my mother became a blazing advocate during doctor visits, probing for answers and educating herself in all things nephrology. As I grew, the fear of kidney failure loomed over my parents’ heads. I, on the other hand, saw myself as normal as kids come. I climbed trees, played sports, and never once thought that my health issue should hinder me from being a kid. I owe my free-spirited childhood to my mom and dad.

After years of doctor’s visits, at 18, the doctors told my parents and me that my kidney function was close to 0% and I would need a transplant. My mother and father discussed every option and without hesitation my mother agreed to donate her kidney to me. Surgeries were scheduled and our family hugged close, to prepare for a speed bump my parents had anticipated my whole childhood.

A decade later, I continued to find strength and motivation from my mother and packed up my life in a uhaul and moved from Philadelphia to Austin with the dream of opening a café. With each step I make toward future dreams, I’ve learned firsthand that life will continue to bring me wonderful things - and the occasional speed bump. Although I may be many miles away from my family, naming this spot after my mother ensures that I will never lose that tight bond that I share with the woman who gave me life twice. I love you mom!