Before their marriage, Harry and Melissa had both lost their spouses to cancer, and Melissa lost her parents to cancer.
Harry says, “My first wife died of ovarian cancer and was treated by Dr. Clarke-Pearson. I remember the special way they dealt with us. I spent a lot of time at UNC, and we never had a bad experience with anything. When you go through a terminal illness and feel good about it, that’s remarkable.”
Melissa recalls the day she discovered the Patient and Family Resource Center in the Gravely building. ”My mother had leukemia. I had heard about the Resource Center and found it. They were so compassionate and talked to me about a wig for my mother. I don’t know what I would have done without their help. It was so meaningful.”
The Bynum’s gift is unrestricted, to be used “wherever it’s needed most.” Harry explains, “We gave life insurance. It’s a different way to give and a good way for us to contribute.” In addition to their planned gift, they also support the Resource Center with gift cards, books and DVDs.
Both serve on the UNC Lineberger Board of Visitors Communications Committee because they want to help spread the word about UNC Lineberger. They say, “Cancer affects so many people. Because of our experience we feel for people going through a cancer diagnosis. Donor dollars can help.”
Harry says, “UNC Lineberger is a real asset to North Carolina. We have a superb facility that’s close to us, so that we don’t have to go to Texas or Baltimore.”
Melissa says, “Everyone at Lineberger was so compassionate and treated us with respect, from the valet to the Resource Center to the doctors and nurses. We want to do everything we can to support UNC Lineberger.”