Monday, August 26, 2013


On Friday, August 23, Anna June experienced being "forgotten" at school for forty-seven whole minutes. I am deeply sorry for my error, and vow to do better.

But Friday was also a special day at work for me.

We had the grand reopening for the Wallace Tumor Institute, a building we refer to as WTI, which houses UAB's Comprehensive Cancer Center.

First, I walked down (5 blocks) to get to the event, with a group of folks from our office. We're in Preventive Medicine, and one of the things we're trying hardest to prevent, of course, is cancer.

I also worked in that building, and with the group of people who are now re-homed in that building, for many years. It was actually fun to attend and see the many faces I rarely get the chance to see, being five whole blocks away now.

It was a banner day. Including complete media coverage, the Governor of Alabama, Dr. Robert Bentley, and the Mayor of Birmingham, William Bell, made appearances and speeches, as did UAB's new President, Dr. Ray Watt. I was impressed with all of them, but not as impressed as with our Cancer Center Director, Dr. Ed Partridge, and the cancer survivor who spoke, Ms. Mary Anne Harvard. All were inspiring, and very, very excited that the building, after so many years, is finally complete.

Here's a picture of the ribbon cutting. I was standing on the stairs behind all the action. I'm not in the picture.
(Photos courtesy Dr. Renee Desmond)

After the ceremony and during the reception, I saw so many friends I wanted to talk with that I told the group walking back to the office to go on without me (mistake!). I was still touring the office space, marveling at our previously windowless space that was now awash in natural light. You cannot even tell you're physically in the same geographic location. The transformation took seven years, and weathered a bankrupt construction company that stopped work (and traffic patterns), but it's finally done.

I was getting ready to head back when a delegation of folks from Montgomery's Alabama Department of Public Health asked if I could show them where the cyclotron was. I knew it was in the basement, so I set out to lead an ad-hoc tour of a place I didn't know we'd be exactly welcome. Luckily, some VIP tours were in progress, and we hooked in with one of those.

This is me in front of the cyclotron. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In a few weeks, it will be closed off behind its lead doors and people will not be allowed in there.

After a successful visit with the ADPH folks, Dr. Desmond and I got our picture made in the lobby of the director's suite.

After some questions, some more touring (we saw a lab where people work on brain tumors), and an attempt at conference room scheduling, we got in the car to go back to the office. It was 12:00!

Poor Anna June! Next time I'm engaged in networking, or hobnobbing, whichever you choose to call it, I'll make sure my child care situation is taken care of first!

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