Ray Slabaugh

When Ray Slabaugh was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma in 2009, he and his wife, Lynn, were prepared to go anywhere to get the best possible treatment. Fortunately, they quickly learned that the best treatment in the country was right in their own backyard, at Massey.

Slabaugh’s diagnosis, a rare form of aggressive non-Hodgkins’ lymphoma, was complicated. While confident in the expertise he knew was housed at Massey, Ray was also prepared that the rarity of his case might require more specialized consultation.

“We went in to meet with Dr. Ginder, and to our amazement, we found that he had done the legwork for us,” said Slabaugh. Gordon Ginder, MD, the Lipman Chair in Oncology and director of VCU Massey Comprehensive Cancer Center, anticipated the Slabaughs’ concern for getting the absolute latest treatment options, and had made calls to his peers across the country to confirm the treatment plan he was bringing to the table was the best one possible.

“It gave me so much peace of mind to have that kind of personal care,” says Slabaugh. “It’s reassuring to know your physician puts the patient first. Dr. Ginder was committed to making sure Lynn and I were as comfortable as possible with the course of action.”

That course of action was not an easy one. Ray endured six months of treatment, including 95 days in the hospital. When he wasn’t in the hospital, he was required to visit the Dalton Clinic every other day for monitoring and infusions. To help out, Ray’s friend Dave Wilson coordinated “Ray’s Taxi Service,” a network of more than 30 friends to transport Ray to and from his clinic visits.

“That was the value of having exceptional care available in my hometown,” says Ray. “To have that daily support from our friends during such a long treatment made everything so much easier.”

Ray’s treatment was successful and today he is enjoying remission and his return to his active and full life, with a profound sense of gratitude for the care he received at Massey. “Dr. Ginder and his staff are my heroes,” says Ray, “They made it so much easier to be sick.”

Lymphoma is treated in Massey’s Hematological-Malignancy Clinic by a staff of specialists that include physician-scientists who translate research results into patient care. In gratitude, Ray and Lynn Slabaugh created the Slabaugh Family Research Fund for Clinical Trials in honor of Dr. Gordon Ginder. The Fund will support the advancement of promising research at Massey.