CCC 275x275James Estes and Mike Slive made generous gifts to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center during their lifetimes. James Estes and Mike Slive never met in their lifetimes, but the two Alabama natives who passed away this year had much in common. Both powerhouses in Alabama, Estes and Slive redefined their respective industries—Estes in nursing homes and Slive in college athletics. Perhaps their greatest bond can be found in their commitments to end cancer.

Estes survived a bout with cancer during his lifetime but lost his first wife, Mary Ellen, to ovarian cancer in 2003. Slive inspired many during his public battle with prostate cancer, to which he succumbed in May 2018. Despite cancer taking so much from both men, they each found a way to help thousands of cancer patients. And their influence continues to reverberate at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“The commitment of leaders such as James Estes and Mike Slive to our cancer center has significantly contributed to our thriving, exceptional research program and outstanding clinical care,” says UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Michael Birrer, M.D., Ph.D. “I am grateful for their compassion.”

A Man Set Apart

EstesPartridgeNorman Estes, Barbara Partridge, James Estes, and Edward Partridge.Throughout his 25-year career as president and CEO of Estes Health Care Centers Inc., Estes did more than operate nursing homes—he advocated for better care for the elderly. He shared his passion for the field with his son, Norman, who is currently president and CEO of nursing home facility management company NHS Management LLC.

The elder Estes had an affinity for giving back. He made several significant gifts to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center to accelerate research aimed at developing new cancer treatments. He funded the James H. Estes Endowed Chair for Lung Cancer Research in 2008 and contributed to the Comprehensive Cancer Center Fund for Excellence in 2017, among other gifts.

Most recently, James and Norman Estes funded the Edward E. Partridge, M.D., Endowed Chair for Cancer Disparity Research and the Barbara and Edward Partridge Atrium. The endowed chair will strengthen faculty recruitment and retention efforts, while supporting efforts to reduce disparities in cancer treatment and outcomes.

“This gift is particularly important in a time when federal dollars are limited and philanthropic support is critical to sustain programs that otherwise would not continue or exist,” says Edward Partridge, M.D., former director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“James always had giving on his mind,” explains Pat Estes, remembering her husband’s legacy. “It was the most important thing to him, and cancer touched many of his loved ones’ lives. He thought giving to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center was a pivotal step to ultimately find a cure for cancer.”

A Resounding Legacy

MikeSlivewithGranddaughterAbigail Slive Harwood with her grandfather Mike Slive.Slive is known for his impact on the world of college sports. As Southeastern Conference (SEC) commissioner from 2002-2015, he helped create the College Football Playoff and build the SEC network. Before serving as SEC commissioner, he was the Conference USA commissioner.

Slive may never have anticipated he would have such an impact on prostate cancer research. He and his friend Ed Meyerson, former president of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center Advisory Board, realized they could create a foundation that makes a difference in men’s lives the way the Breast Cancer Foundation of Alabama has done for women. Thus, they formed the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research.

Created in September 2017, the Mike Slive Foundation raised $150,000 in its first four months to fund three cutting-edge prostate cancer research grants at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center.

“We have a unique opportunity to utilize the platform of athletics in the fight against prostate cancer,” says Anna Slive Harwood, daughter of Mike Slive and president of the Mike Slive Foundation. “Our relationship with UAB Athletics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center is a perfect example of this. One in seven men will get prostate cancer in his lifetime. I’m doing this for my father. He did this so that no man would have to go through what he went through.”

To learn more about the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, contact Lisa E. Roth at or 205-934-0930.

By Courtney Bishop and Emily Henagan