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Tennis player John Isner and his mom Karen Isner
John Isner and Karen Isner

The North Carolina Cancer Hospital today announced the naming of the multidisciplinary clinic reception area in honor of Karen Isner. She is a two-time cancer survivor and the mother of professional tennis player John Isner.

Greensboro native John Isner is the highest-ranked U.S. singles player in the Association of Tennis Professionals worldwide rankings. He is also the only American tennis player in the top 20.

He, his wife, Madison, and his family have been steadfast supporters of UNC Lineberger. During the last decade, he has raised funds for the cancer center with several events. He hosted the Ebix Charity Challenge, which featured a top professional tennis players exhibition, and a youth clinic. There was also a Wimbledon 2018 raffle prize, including airfare, housing, Centre Court tickets, and other special items.

Inspiring Cancer Care

Karen Isner received treatment for colon cancer at N.C. Cancer Hospital by a team of specialists, including Benjamin Calvo, MD, director of the Gastrointestinal Multidisciplinary Oncology Program, co-director of the UNC Lineberger Gastrointestinal Oncology Program and an associate professor of surgery at UNC School of Medicine.

“Today is a special moment for myself and my family, as we recognize the exceptional care my mother received at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and the North Carolina Cancer Hospital,” John Isner said during the dedication ceremony at the cancer hospital. “Not only am I grateful to be standing alongside my mother, but also amongst the incredible medical staff who took such great care of her.”

“It has been a wonderful privilege to care for Karen and to see her thrive as a cancer survivor,” said Calvo, who was Karen Isner’s surgeon. “The naming of the clinical reception area in her honor is a well-deserved tribute to her. It underscores her family’s commitment to help others who have been affected by cancer.”

Giving Back

At the dedication ceremony, John Isner announced that he is extending the focus of his giving to help patients, hospitals, and medical facilities beyond North Carolina.

“I am proud to launch The Isner Family Foundation to provide support to hospitals and other medical facilities to include patient treatment and pediatric care, so that others have the opportunity to receive best-in-class treatment, like my mother did,” Isner said.

“I’m humbled, grateful, and deeply honored to have this reception area bear my name,” Karen Isner said. “My heartfelt appreciation to John for his generosity, and to the doctors and staff at UNC Lineberger for their continuing dedication in caring for cancer patients and their families.”

Speaking at the dedication, UNC Lineberger Director Shelton Earp, MD, praised John Isner and his family for their ongoing support of the cancer center and its comprehensive cancer support program.

“This is a great story. A story we love. Because of the care Karen received, the hope she was given has turned into a decade of wonderful life,” Earp said. “We thank you (Karen) so much for your family and for what you have done for us over the years, and for you being a beacon of hope for others. You have been at countless fundraiser with us to tell the story that people can come here to get today’s best care and tomorrow’s best hope.”