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Rasberry 275x275Joan Rasberry purchased this colorful painting at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center's ArtBlink Gala and donated it back to the Cancer Center. She was also inspired to make a gift to support leukemia research at UAB because of the excellent care she received at UAB.There’s an adage that art speaks to you. For Joan Rasberry that couldn’t have been truer when she saw a painting of a bouquet of flowers at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center’s annual ArtBlink Gala in 2016. The flowers were bathed in a rainbow of colors—lavender, peach, cotton white, forest green, bright yellow—to symbolize the different types of cancers millions of people face. Rasberry is one of those people.

Diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, Rasberry didn’t know where to turn for treatment. However, she was thankful when her doctor referred her to Harry Erba, M.D., Ph.D. “My first experience with UAB happened when I was getting treated by Dr. Erba, and he is fantastic,” says Rasberry. “He is everything you want in a physician, and I’m forever grateful to him and the other amazing people at UAB for giving me years of my life back.”

Rasberry wanted to show her gratitude by pledging a gift in honor of Erba. The pledge will support the Alabama Leukemia Research Fund for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a research initiative led by Erba and Chris Klug, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Microbiology. Not only does this research hit close to home for Rasberry, but she also wants to help those who are suffering from or will suffer from cancer in their lives.

“I want my gift to help in research to possibly find cures for cancer,” she says. “So many people suffer from cancer. If I can support research to help these people, then I want to make that impact and give back.”

Erba, professor of medicine, director of the UAB Hematologic Malignancy Program, and associate director for clinical research at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, says he thinks Rasberry is already making an extraordinary impact. “Philanthropy like hers allows us to do the work needed to advance the care of people with cancer,” says Erba. “Her gift will allow us to do preliminary research that we believe is very promising.”

Rasberry recently gave another gift by donating the painting that said so much to her to the Comprehensive Cancer Center. In life and in art, everything for Rasberry is coming full circle.

To learn more about giving to the Alabama Leukemia Research Fund for Acute Myeloid Leukemia, contact Christian Smith at cnsmith@uab.edu or 205-934-1974.

By Emily Henagan