8 U A B C O M P R E H E N S I V E C A N C E R C E N T E R

MS. McCORD had always led an active,

healthy lifestyle. That changed in 2001 as

she began to feel not sick, per se, but simply

unwell. “I would always ride my bike in the

mornings before work,” she recalls. “And I

didn’t feel like doing that. It was odd because

that had always been like bliss for me.” That

unfamiliar disinterest in her former source of

bliss, along with swollen lymph nodes in her

neck, prompted her to see her doctor.

Surgery yielded a negative diagnosis—a

false negative, as it turned out. In 2002, with

her symptoms refusing to abate, Ms. McCord

returned to her doctor and received a differ-

ent diagnosis: Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“The diagnosis was a complete shock,”

she says. “I had no experience with cancer or

a family history of it.”

Ms. McCord began a six-month regimen

of chemotherapy and additional radiation at a

local hospital, with unsatisfying results. The

next step, her doctors told her, was a bone

marrow transplant at UAB. But Ms. McCord

is “one of those people who wants to know

everything,” she says. “I traveled interna-

tionally for a second and third opinion. The

doctors said that they could do what I need-

MARY GRACE MCCORD

BIRMINGHAM NATIVE MARY GRACE MCCORD WAS FAMILIAR WITH THE WORLD-CLASS RESEARCH AND PATIENT CARE AVAILABLE AT

UAB, BUT SHE NEVER IMAGINED THAT THOSE SERVICES WOULD END UP SAVING HER LIFE—TWICE.

“I THANK GOD FOR THE

DOCTORS AND NURSES

IN THE BMT UNIT AND

WHAT THEY DO TO

SAVE PEOPLE’S LIVES.”

B Y J O S H T I L L