Becky Black Memorial Fund aims high to cure endometrial cancer

The fund has a goal of raising $25,000 for UNC OB-GYN Dr. Victoria Bae-Jump's research by Sept. 3.

Becky Black Memorial Fund aims high to cure endometrial cancer click to enlarge Dr. David Black and his guide in the Alps.

Dr. David Black is a goal-setter.

First there were the 5k races, then the half-marathons, and then the mountains he would climb around the world.

This is one of the ways David, a longtime professor of Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, has coped since losing his beloved wife Becky to an aggressive form of endometrial cancer Nov. 2, 2013.

But, one goal is bigger than all the rest – to help UNC researchers get closer to a cure for endometrial cancer.

The Becky Black Memorial Fund to Fight Endometrial Cancer will support the efforts of Dr. Victoria L. Bae-Jump, associate professor of gynecologic oncology at UNC OB-GYN and member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center who specializes in endometrial cancer research.

To help reach his goal of $25,000, David has been spreading the word about the fund far and wide. And, what better way to reach a broad audience than from the top of a mountain.

This summer, David traveled to the Alps, where he climbed four beautiful and challenging mountains, carrying along with him and proudly displaying a "Becky Black Memorial Fund" banner.

"I wanted a way to honor my wife that was out of the ordinary," he said. "To climb these mountains I knew I'd have to do some training. I'm 64, and I knew this would be seriously challenging for me, but I wanted to do it for her."

Becky's cancer was rare and aggressive, and she was treated at UNC. Together, they traveled to her treatments from the south side of Virginia in a red Honda Odyssey van he'd bought her. She fought with dignity and grace, David said, before she passed away at just 60 years old.

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Dr. Black displays his banner at summit of Breithorn (13,600 ft.)

Both David and Becky were touched by the care she received at UNC. Becky was an ICU nurse by trade, so she was no stranger to the scientific world. David says Dr. Paola Gehrig, UNC OB-GYN's chief of gynecologic oncology who treated Becky, always talked with Becky on her level. It was a partnership, he said.

"UNC was excellent in every way, and Dr. Gehrig is fantastic. Not only is she a talented clinician, she took all the time in the world for us and always visited with Becky and checked on her. She made us very confident in Becky's care."

In everything he does, David carries Becky with him. He chooses to participate in races that serve a cause. He sets high goals, like climbing the mountains of the Alps as a novice climber or tackling the waves of Hawaii with a surf board. But getting out there helps with his grief, he said.

"I started doing things I haven't done in years. I've been surfing again. I'm climbing tall mountains. It takes my mind off the fact that she's not here and gets me out into the world."

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The banner traveled on a walking tour of Five Lakes

David and Becky were married 37 years. She was an extraordinary person, he said.

"Her heart was so big. She was the most giving, selfless, Godly and cheerful woman I've ever known. Everyone who knew her would agree. God gave us 37 years together, and her works were so many.

"It's not how long you live, it's how well you live. That is the key to life."

To donate to the Becky Black Memorial Fund to Fight Endometrial Cancer, click here.

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