Committed to Discovery
Alabama natives Deborah and Clarence Pouncey are advocates for local breast cancer research because they realize how critical it is to finding better treatments. Deborah was once a breast cancer patient at UAB, and she and her husband credit UAB physicians with saving her life.
"From the first time we met her treatment team, which was led by Dr. Lisle Nabell, it was obvious that we were in the right place for Debby's treatment," says Clarence Pouncey, executive vice president and COO of ServisFirst Bank. "Dr. Nabell was forward-thinking, bright, and articulate. She genuinely cared about her patients and was honest about what Debby's treatments would entail and their likelihood of success. The medical team around Dr. Nabell provided the same high level of care. Throughout her appointments, we met people from all over the country and the world who came to UAB to receive treatment. We felt very fortunate to live in Birmingham and have access to this extraordinary care that was and continues to be provided by UAB Medicine."
Deborah has been in remission for more than a decade, and she and her family wanted to celebrate in a meaningful way by establishing the Deborah Cason Pouncey Endowed Chair in Breast Cancer Research. Clarence committed a planned gift to the chair, while Deborah's mother, Frances E. Lecroy, followed suit and also committed a planned gift. Their combined $1.5 million gift will help UAB recruit and/or retain an expert faculty member and research scientist who will be focused on accelerating discovery and translating knowledge into new and better therapies for breast cancer treatment.
"We weren't aware of how pervasive breast cancer was, as we met many young ladies in their 30s and 40s with breast cancer throughout this process," says Clarence. "Our family wanted to give back to the breast cancer research initiatives underway at UAB so that we can get closer to ultimately finding a cure for breast cancer. We also want to see women maintain their quality of life while going through treatment and then surviving breast cancer, as we know research will continue to provide an improved healing environment. We wanted to provide a small contribution to assist with accelerating this world-class breast cancer research."
The UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of 41 Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the U.S., is at the forefront of improving cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Its researchers have pioneered advances in chemotherapy, surgery, immunotherapy and nutrition. For example, last year researchers found that a plant-based diet converted lethal breast cancer to a treatable form in animal models. Moreover, UAB experts are utilizing new tools and methods like gene sequencing to help physicians determine the most appropriate treatment for each patient.
"This generous gift helps advance scientific discovery for the betterment of our breast cancer patients," says Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the Comprehensive Cancer Center. "It allows us to transition cancer research from the bench to the bedside. With this gift, we can provide the highest-quality care while advancing our understanding of cancer and translating that knowledge into better prevention, detection, and treatment. We're thankful to the Pounceys and Mrs. Lecroy for supporting and enhancing our breast cancer research efforts."