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Patient Stories

At UNC Lineberger our vision of cancer care goes beyond what can be achieved with technology alone. For us, the real face of cancer is the human face—full of grace, dignity and determined will. We invite you to join us in celebrating the strength and courage of those who fight cancer everyday.

Selected patient stories from the New Face of Cancer Care website.

In honor of Tricia Prestia

In 2011, Tricia Prestia was wearing a lot of hats. A wife, a mother and a busy women’s health nurse practitioner in Cary, Tricia drew on her training and experience as a cytologist - the person who studies cellular changes that may indicate cancer - in her nursing practice.

In honor of Tricia Prestia - Read More…

In honor of Jim MacDonald

Jim MacDonald used music to share his cancer experience. He co-wrote the song titled “Every Day is Christmas,” describing his two-week stay at the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, shortly after he was diagnosed.

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In honor of Dr. Lori Hunter

When Dr. Lori Hunter defended her dissertation in 2000 at Syracuse University, no one on her committee knew that she was receiving chemotherapy for a second recurrence of breast cancer, now at Stage 4 and spread to her lungs, ribs and tibia.

In honor of Dr. Lori Hunter - Read More…

In honor of Nancy Raasch

Graphic and jewelry designer, Nancy Raasch of Chapel Hill accommodates her cancer and lives a full life. She explains, “I always say I have cancer on Thursdays since I go to clinic on Thursdays.” The rest of her time is spent making jewelry, gardening, reading, cooking and walking her dog.

In honor of Nancy Raasch - Read More…

In honor of Amber Vance

Amber Vance, a young-adult cancer survivor living in Raleigh, is making a difference.

In honor of Amber Vance - Read More…

In honor of Kay Tyndall

Kay Tyndall’s sixth grade social studies classes learned about more than current events. They watched their courageous teacher undergo treatment for bladder cancer.

In honor of Kay Tyndall - Read More…

In honor of Richard Westin

Most cancer patients jump up and down after finishing therapy, but Richard Westin did much more. He jumped out of an airplane on a skydive to celebrate completing his chemo and radiation therapies and now jumps into water taking scuba diving lessons.

In honor of Richard Westin - Read More…

In honor of Bill "Slim" McCulloch

Blues musician Bill McCulloch talks about the best part of music: “It’s those rare little moments when everything comes together musically and the group creates something greater than the parts.” Not unlike a musical group, a team of UNC Lineberger cancer specialists came together and successfully treated Bill, or “Slim” as he prefers to be called, for a head-and-neck cancer.

In honor of Bill "Slim" McCulloch - Read More…

In honor of Daniel Fischler

Daniel Fischler remembers the call. “When a doctor calls you at 10:30 on a Friday night, it’s not going to be good news.” He had undergone an MRI for a herniated disc, but when the test revealed a shadow on his left bowel, a CT was ordered. Then came the call from his doctor. “He told me that it was very likely a tumor. I was knocked out, shocked by the bad news.”

In honor of Daniel Fischler - Read More…

In honor of Michael McAtee

When UNC student Michael McAtee’s GPA plummeted from a cumulative 3.7 to a 1.2, he tried to explain to his academic advisors that something was amiss.

In honor of Michael McAtee - Read More…

In honor of Katerina Gmitter

Katerina Gmitter characterizes her breast cancer experience: “Treatment ends, your hair grows back, your eyebrows grow back, but it changes you forever.” Katerina was diagnosed at 32, four months after giving birth to her daughter.

In honor of Katerina Gmitter - Read More…

In honor of Debra Holmes

When Debra Holmes lost her hair during chemotherapy, she explained it to her two grandchildren, ages five and nine, in a novel way that she felt they could understand. “I told them that what I was taking was like a super drug and it was so powerful I lost my hair.”

In honor of Debra Holmes - Read More…

In honor of Katy Sims

When Katy Sims enters the first-year class at the UNC School of Medicine this fall, she will already have extensive medical experience. Her decision to become a doctor came as she was undergoing treatment for Ewing sarcoma, a type of childhood cancer.

In honor of Katy Sims - Read More…

In honor of Tonya Williams

Tonya Williams of Charlotte is the lucky 13th child in her family. When she needed a match for her bone marrow transplant, all of her brothers and sisters were tested, and the last two brothers were matches.

In honor of Tonya Williams - Read More…

In Honor of Heather Miller

Heather Miller said of her breast cancer diagnosis, “I gave cancer my tears for one night, but after that I decided that cancer was not taking any more from me or from my family.” She adopted the slogan “Fightin’ Feisty” as she prepared to do battle with the disease.

In Honor of Heather Miller - Read More…