Barbara has been a proud Moffitt Cancer Center volunteer, fundraiser and advocate for more than two decades. At first, though, she was hesitant. Growing up she watched friends and family fight and pass from cancer; including her grandfather and father.
“I really wasn't that crazy about taking a tour, because I thought it was going to be depressing and bring back a lot of memories from my past,” she admits. “But in reality, when I stepped onto the Moffitt campus for the first time, I really saw what a place of home and what a place of courage [it is].”
She immediately recognized Moffitt as “an organization which is always looking to do something different, to do it better, to do it in a new way.” Inspired by the progress and imagination she saw from the Moffitt physicians and researchers, Barbara knew she had to be involved.
“I know that I can do my part and help in some way as a volunteer, as a donor. I want to be there and I want to be a part of this excitement.”
Throughout the years, Barbara has supported Moffitt in many ways, from serving on the Foundation Board of Directors for 19 years to chairing the Magnolia Ball, one of Moffitt’s signature fundraising events. In addition, she has also served as chair of the Moffitt Merit Society.
Named after Merit Ptah, the first woman in recorded history to become a medical doctor, the Merit Society is a proud group of women who support women researchers at Moffitt. Each year they provide a woman researcher with preliminary funding needed so she can pursue her research.
“It's an unbelievable opportunity to know that you're directly funding a physician or a researcher,” Barbara shares. It’s equally as exciting to know you’re funding someone possibly on their way to the next big breakthrough, she says.
Barbara is amazed at how much cancer research and treatment options have evolved since the late 1960s when her grandfather was battling cancer. She hopes that her children, one of whom now works at Moffitt, will never have to know cancer in the same as she has. “That's what's so exciting about Moffitt.”