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 9

today and tomorrow and the next year and the next year. Mr. and Mrs. Hynson have also developed special

relationships with Dr. Heslin and the rest of her treat- ment team at the Cancer Center. The first time I met Dr. Heslin, he was just so reassuring, so calm and so caring, Mrs. Hynson says. The oncology nurses are just wonderful. Everyone, from the front door to the back door, is wonderful. There may be somebody get- ting care as good as I am, but nobody s getting any bet- ter. It s just been a phenomenal, wonderful experience.

When her cancer journey began, it was impor- tant to the Hynsons that their lives remain as normal as possible. Being able to receive treatment at UAB allowed them to do that. Part of the reason to come to Birmingham was that it probably would not have been possible to maintain our normal life somewhere else. If we d gone to New York or Houston, life would have changed. We would not have had the quality of life that we enjoy now, Mr. Hynson says.

Getting Involved Since her cancer diagnosis, Mrs. Hynson has

become an active participant in the Birmingham com- munity and in the cancer community. After her surgery, she sponsored a team in the Go For It Run, which raised $35,000 to benefit pancreatic cancer research at UAB. Not long after that, she became involved with the Robert E. Reed Gastrointestinal Oncology Research Foundation, which donates all of its fundraising dol- lars to the Cancer Center s GI oncology clinic. In the last five years, she has helped raise around $150,000 for pancreatic cancer research, and in 2011, the Reed Foundation honored her with the Lessley Oliver Hynson Award in recognition of her efforts.  

We ve also gotten to know some of the researchers, and that s been really, really great, Mrs. Hynson says. They don t usually get to meet the patients. They told me that I was the first one they d met who had the can- cer they d been researching.

We re hugely fortunate in this part of the South to

have UAB, and when we write letters on behalf of the Reed Foundation, we emphasize that we have a com- prehensive cancer center here, says Mr. Hynson, who himself was diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer at UAB in 2008. I had a friend who had been diagnosed with cancer ask where he should go for a sec- ond opinion. I said if you want to go to a place that is friendly and gives you more personal attention, I would go to UAB. That s what he s doing.

It could be challenging to find two bigger fans of UAB and the Comprehensive Cancer Center they even hosted a party last June to thank the people who have supported them through Mrs. Hynson s cancer journey. Birmingham and UAB and life have been the positive side of this experience, she says. I would encourage anyone to go to UAB and get the best care possible under one roof. It just makes a difference. I would be positive no matter how dire the prognosis. And find a clinical trial, she adds, because if you re not on a trial, you re not taking advantage of the advancements in medicine. Maybe the trial comes to nothing, but if you don t do it, it will definitely come to nothing.

Moving Forward Today, aside from her monthly visits to the Cancer

Center, Mrs. Hynson lives what she considers a normal life cooking, gardening and spending time with her Scottish terrier, Willy. She and Mr. Hynson also spend a few months out of the year at their home in Northern Ireland, which they fell in love with 20 years ago. Our life works around UAB and travel, she says. Adds Mr. Hynson, Delta Airlines loves us.

But while her life has returned to normal, having cancer has forever changed Mrs. Hynson. It s been a very interesting story, she says. Do I wish it hadn t happened? I guess so, but I wouldn t have it not happen because it s been an incredible journey even at the lowest of the low points. With the personal, positive and quality care I received, I will be impressed with that for the rest of my life. It s all been just a pleasure an absolute pleasure.

With the


positive and

quality care I

received, I will

be impressed

with that for the

rest of my life.

It s all been just

a pleasure

an absolute