December 01, 2016
Guin Robinson and Tim Parker December 1, 2016 | Amy Bickers

“There is a very real relationship, both quantitatively and qualitatively, between what you contribute and what you get out of this world.” ― Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960)

In 2008, when Guin Robinson and Tim Parker were making estate plans, they decided to include a bequest to establish two funds that would honor their mothers and each woman’s battle with cancer. Tucked into the gift agreement for those funds, in stark black and white, is a message of hope.

“If a cure is found for either of these diseases, then the balance in that fund shall be transferred to the other fund.”

“It was so great to even say those words and have that put in the agreement,” Robinson says. “(UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Director) Ed Partridge is one of my heroes. I’ve heard him say many times that we’re going to find a cure for cancer. It’s going to happen and it’s going to happen in his lifetime. And I believe that, too.”

Until that day arrives, both Robinson and Parker want to be part of supporting the work toward a cure. They are both inspired by the dedication of Dr. Partridge, who holds the Evalina B. Spencer Chair in Oncology, and other researchers and physicians at UAB.

So the couple pledged a portion of their estate to create the Rebecca Gaither Boddie and Darryl Guin Robinson Endowed Support Fund for Renal Cell Carcinoma Research and the Cecilia Kleinschrodt Parker and Timothy Eugene Parker Endowed Support Fund for Colorectal Cancer Research.

Robinson’s mother, Rebecca Gaither Boddie, was diagnosed with kidney cancer 10 years ago.

“Up until that point, I had always said that we’re so fortunate to have UAB in Birmingham,” said Robinson, a member of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Advisory Board. “That was based on seeing what UAB had meant to others. It became very personal once my mom was treated at UAB. Until it becomes personal, you really don’t know the full impact of UAB medicine.”

Robinson, former mayor of Pell City and now Director of Community Outreach for Jefferson State Community College, says his philanthropy is inspired by his family’s long history of community service. In 1976, his mother was the first woman to serve on the Ashland City Council. Now, she’s in her 24th year of service.

“When my mother was sick, I made a promise to myself, to God and to Dr. Partridge that if my mom comes through this, I will volunteer and do anything I can,” he said. “And I am so very happy to have had to pay on that promise.”

For Parker, who works in the banking industry, his giving is inspired by the devastating loss of his mother to colorectal cancer when he was 27.

“Watching her go through the progression of that horrible disease was so hard,” he said. “If you can catch it early enough, it can be treatable, but not everyone recognizes the symptoms. By the time they discovered she had it, it had progressed to a stage that was non-treatable.”

Parker is grateful they are in a position to be able to give back and make a difference for other families in similar situations. “We felt like it was important to us to create a legacy for our mothers,” he said. “Dr. Partridge certainly believes that if the funding is there that within our lifetimes we could find cures for these diseases. If that were to occur, what a fantastic thing that would be for everyone.”

“There are no families that haven’t been touched by cancer,” Robinson said. “A cure is going to happen. We just need to work a little harder and raise a little more. Hopefully, we can play a small part in having a day in which cancer is no more.”