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Lisa Milligan at her event, Golfing for the Gals
Lisa Milligan at Golfing for the Gals.

Greensboro, North Carolina, resident Lisa Milligan was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2017 after experiencing “dramatic, puzzling and debilitating” symptoms.

Her doctor wanted to refer her to an oncologist in Greensboro, but Milligan discovered UNC Lineberger’s Paola Gehrig, MD, whom Milligan felt was the perfect fit.

After a complete hysterectomy, pelvic radiation and brachytherapy, Milligan remains under Gehrig’s care.

“There are three words to describe my cancer journey — frightening, grateful and empowered,” Milligan said. “Being diagnosed and told I had cancer was a frightening and jaw-dropping moment in my life. I’m grateful that I had expert care with Dr. Gehrig, and empowered now that I’m into survivorship.”

Vickie Bae-Jump, Lisa Milligan and Paola Gehrig at Golfing for the Gals event 2020
Vickie Bae-Jump, MD, PhD, Lisa Milligan and Paola Gehrig, MD, at the 2020 Golfing for the Gals event.

Milligan wanted to extend that sense of empowerment to other women in her situation. An avid golfer who aspired to play professionally, she decided to combine her passion for advocacy and golf into a singular event, and Golfing for the Gals was born.

The first event was held in 2020 in the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, which provided more obstacles for Milligan. “The difficulty I faced planning and hosting the first event is not unlike the adversity confronted by many cancer survivors,” she said.

The event raises funds for UNC Lineberger to support uterine cancer awareness, research and education. Milligan is focused on raising $1 million, and she plans to continue her efforts until she reaches that goal – and then continue past it.

“I’m very passionate about the causes I believe in,” Milligan said. “The biggest impact in my life was having cancer, and I wanted to give something back to UNC Lineberger, the physicians and their staff for all their efforts, education and research they provide women with uterine cancer.”