For Jim and Cathy Bivens of Albemarle, facing the diagnosis of Cathy’s breast cancer at age 49 was devastating. A less than satisfactory experience with getting timely care prompted the Bivens to make a call to UNC Lineberger where they were quickly given an appointment.
Cathy recalls the first consultation with breast cancer surgeon Dr. Bill Cance and reflects: “I can’t begin to describe how impressed Jim and I were with the entire oncology team at UNC. Even back then, you could see the multidisciplinary approach in action. When they proposed the treatment plan and said my prognosis was hopeful, I remember Jim squeezing my hand as tears rolled down my cheeks.” Jim adds: “In our entire lives, this remains the best news Cathy and I have ever received.”
The time was 1999 and the old Gravely building was the place where Cathy would undergo successful treatment, remaining cancer free ever since.
In gratitude for Cathy’s care, the Bivens established a generous Charitable Remainder Trust. It was a planned giving instrument that made sense for them following the sale of a family business. The trust makes it possible for Jim and Cathy to draw interest income for life, while the balance reverts to the cancer center when they are gone. Recently, the Bivens made the decision to join the Lineberger Board of Visitors and had a chance to tour the cancer hospital. Seeing the new facility through the lens of a former patient in Gravely, Cathy’s tears returned as memories flooded back. “It’s funny, at the time I never thought of the old hospital as anything but the most beautiful place on earth…the people there made it so.”