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Triad Living Article on the Bob MacKay Memorial Golf Tournament
Read more about the MacKay Foundation in Triad Living (2 MB PDF)

'Investments in Each Other's Lives': A Doctor, a Patient and Family Connect to Make a Difference

On many days, David Hurd, MD, wears a golf shirt to the office.

It's a certain type, one that features the logo of the Bob MacKay Memorial Golf Tournament.

It's about all I wear anymore," he said. "I have so many different ones from over the years."

About 20 years' worth, he figures, all collected from the charity tournament that raised money for the MacKay Foundation for Cancer Research. The foundation, started in 1994 by Bob MacKay's wife, Barbara MacKay Vinson, has provided more than $1 million in funding for blood and marrow transplant, leukemia and hematology research, and education at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. David Hurd and Barbara MacKay

David Hurd, MD, and Barbara MacKay Vinson at the 2005 MacKay Memorial Tournament

As professor of Hematology and Oncology and former director of the Cancer Center's Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Hurd has seen the difference the foundation's gifts have made.

"The funds have helped build our transplant program into one of the more active programs in the Southeast," he said.

Connecting with a Family

Hurd came to Wake Forest Baptist in 1989 to start the Bone Marrow Transplant Program and met Bob MacKay early in his tenure. "I was his physician and treated him for leukemia," Hurd said. "I got to know Bob well. He loved golf, and I even got to go golfing with him a few times."

According to Barbara, the physicians, nurses and staff at the Comprehensive Cancer Center became like family during the 3 years they cared for Bob. She created the foundation shortly after he died in 1993. The MacKay Memorial Tournament became the foundation's signature event, and Barbara, her family and volunteers ran it for 20 years, raising as much as $80,000 a year. Through the tournament and other events, the foundation has raised well over $1 million.

"Barbara has been a selfless, hard-working individual who has made it her life's work to raise money for this Cancer Center," Hurd said.

"Without her help, we would not have been as productive, our work would not have been as noteworthy and our reputation would not be as great. Her support has been critical to our research efforts and has led to improvements in care for our patients. We would not be the program we are today without that support."

Building Friendships

Hurd has remained friends with Barbara and her family through what he calls "investments in each other's lives. The friendship becomes an important part of your life," he said.

"Certainly other families have donated in support of the Cancer Center, too. It's always very humbling to know that patients and their families have made that commitment because of the efforts we've made."

Support from those who care-in the Medical Center, in the community and around the world-makes a difference for the people and programs of Wake Forest Baptist.