Rich and Marilyn Preyer

The Preyers have committed $1 million to establish The Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professorship for Breast Cancer Research at UNC Lineberger.

"In January 2000, as Chapel Hill shut down due to 14 inches of snow and our neighborhood lit up with sledding possibilities, we marveled at the innocence of it all… Sadly, the piled snow— treacherous in spite of its appearance — became a metaphor for the deep journey we would begin. After waiting for the snow to clear and disbelieving that at 42 I could have a lump in my breast; we found our path to UNC. Scared, breathless but hyper focused, I faced a battery of tests and a dire prognosis. And then, beautiful as that snowfall, in walked a doctor, who was full of confidence, compassion and possibility," recalled Marilyn Preyer of Hillsborough.

That visit was the beginning of a very special relationship with her oncologist, Lisa Carey, M.D. From day one, Dr. Carey was direct, and she told Marilyn she had a fighting chance. Together Marilyn, her husband Rich and their three children navigated a long tough road. Today Marilyn is cancer-free, and credits Dr. Carey and the wonderful team of physicians and researchers at UNC Lineberger. As Marilyn explained "Although I had cancer invading my cells, my DNA told me I was in excellent hands."

In appreciation, the Preyers have committed $1 million which will be matched with $500,000 from the state of North Carolina to establish The Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professorship for Breast Cancer Research at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. Appropriately, the first recipient of this professorship will be Dr. Lisa Carey, who in addition to being Marilyn's oncologist is an internationally recognized breast cancer clinical researcher.

Dr. Carey was recently named UNC Lineberger associate director for clinical science and serves as medical director of the UNC Breast Center. "Dr. Carey is an outstanding physician scientist whose compassion as a doctor is rivaled only by her scientific insight. The Preyers' investment in establishing this distinguished professorship is a fitting way to recognize her record of collaboration, scholarship and exceptional clinical leadership," said Shelton Earp, MD, UNC Lineberger Director.

When announcing this gift in May 2010, Marilyn told Dr. Carey, “Someone, whom I love and lost this year, always told me 'knowledge is your greatest capital.' It brings our family such honor to share our small contribution to expand your vast knowledge, for the benefit of the public of North Carolina."

"I am very grateful to Marilyn and Rich for recognizing the past accomplishments and future potential of UNC’s breast cancer research program through this generous gift,” said Carey.