Nancy and Bill Graham with Lisa Carey, MD, FASCO
Nancy and Bill Graham with Lisa Carey, MD, FASCO

Bill and Nancy Graham of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, have donated $1 million to support breast cancer research and care at the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Grahams established the Bill and Nancy Graham Breast Cancer Research Fund to provide the cancer center’s leadership with unrestricted funding, which enables them to make investments where the need is greatest, including faculty recruitment and research support. It is also an important contribution to the Campaign for Carolina, UNC Chapel Hill’s ambitious fundraising campaign.

“Bill and Nancy Graham are true North Carolinians who value the importance of service to others,” said Shelton Earp, MD, director of UNC Lineberger and the Lineberger Professor of Cancer Research. “We’re extremely grateful for their gift and the flexibility they have given us to use those funds where we believe it can have the most impact, both today and in the future.”

Lisa Carey, MD, FASCO, the Richardson and Marilyn Jacobs Preyer Distinguished Professor in Breast Cancer Research at UNC Lineberger and physician-in-chief of the N.C. Cancer Hospital, said the Grahams’ vision will help speed the translation of laboratory discoveries into better and more effective breast cancer care.

“The Graham gift is a terrific opportunity for UNC Lineberger to attract the next generation of physician-researchers who specialize in breast cancer,” Carey said. “Nancy and Bill have seen how much we can achieve when we have people who are not just excellent clinicians but who also bring a scientific focus to help create the fundamental knowledge to advance our understanding and treatment of breast cancer.”

The Grahams’ ties to UNC Lineberger go back to Bill Graham’s uncle, Page Graham, who was on the cancer center’s Board of Visitors. The connection became more personal when Nancy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. She started her treatment in Winston-Salem and then came to UNC Lineberger for a second opinion on her daughter’s recommendation.

The Grahams view their latest gift to UNC Lineberger as a way to ensure that everyone in North Carolina has access to the most advanced and best cancer care, regardless of where they live.

“UNC Lineberger is one of the country’s leading cancer care and research centers, and we want to help ensure it has the resources to remain great,” Bill Graham said. “Nancy and I take great pride knowing that the cancer center serves all of the people of North Carolina. We thought this was an important gift to make because UNC Lineberger is doing great work across the state, especially in our rural areas.”

The Grahams have been steadfast supporters of the cancer center, including the Mary Anne Long Patient Family Resource Center. In recognition of their donations, the resource center’s main reception area is named in the Grahams’ honor.

Nancy Graham also is a former member of the Patient Family Advisory Council, which brings together patients and caregivers to play a leading role in enhancing patient- and family-centered care.

“We have seen firsthand how great the need is for improving the treatment of cancer,” said Bill Graham. “Our investment in support of UNC Lineberger’s research programs is an opportunity to be part of a larger effort that we’re certain will lead to better cancer care for everyone in North Carolina. That is very important to us.”

Media Contact: Bill Schaller, 919-962-3405, bill_schaller@med.unc.edu