Dana-Farber cancer patient performs magic tricks for staff

BOSTON — Just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic a local magician reached out to several Boston hospitals, including the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, to offer to perform some charity shows. Turns out, ironically, he became a cancer patient there himself nine months later. But that hasn’t stopped Barry McDonough from performing and putting lots of smiles on lots of faces.

The 57-year-old Stoughton man has had a lifelong love of the art of magic. He’s performed magic, off and on, for more than 40 years.

“When you see something that truly astounds you it brings you to what I call that childlike wonder,” he said.

In December, McDonough was diagnosed with Stage 4 head and neck cancer. He’s now receiving treatment at Dana-Farber.

“Quite honestly, when you hear that it takes the wind out of your sails for sure,” he said.

McDonough has taken his magic to the people working magic. He often entertains the staff at Dana-Farber following his radiation and chemotherapy treatments. For him, it’s a simple way to give back, but also a great diversion.

“When I’m lying there with the mask on receiving radiation, I’m not thinking of the radiation. I’m thinking as soon as I get off that table I’m going to perform for the three or four folks in the radiation room and the steps I’ll need to go through to thoroughly amaze them,” he said.

McDonough said once he feels better and the pandemic is over, he hopes to put on charity shows at Boston hospitals, including Dana-Farber. He also plans to take part in the annual Jimmy Fund Walk, which Boston 25 is a proud media partner of. The virtual walk will be held on Sunday, October 3rd.