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25 For Research: William Lynch

June 28, 2021

Melody Lynch was a traveler at heart, frequently catching flights around the world with her mother and taking in the world’s best sights. Although her globetrotting habits ended after she chose to settle down and raise a family with her husband in Arkansas, her son William Lynch remembers her as a big fan of travel.

“It had to be kind of funny, her going from traveling across the world to a small town in Arkansas,” Lynch said.

William and Melody LynchMelody was a substitute teacher, but when she wasn’t working in a classroom, she served as a full-time stay-at-home mom for her kids. However, once her children hit their teenage years, things changed for the Lynch family. In the early ‘90s, she began fighting breast cancer.

In April 1997, the disease took her from her family.

“Losing our mom impacted my brother, sister and I greatly – especially losing her at such a young age,” said Lynch. “Being an adolescent and trying to mature while losing the most important person in your life at that time certainly had a negative impact. But the positive result was that it really brought our family together in a tight bond.”

As the years went by, William moved away from Arkansas to Alabama, but the memory of his mother stayed with him. While settling into a routine in a new state, he began to look into community volunteer work and how he could meet new people. He knew he wanted to help others, but wasn’t sure exactly what organization to dive in with.

“I thought to myself: ‘what’s something I care about?’ I knew I didn’t want to do just anything – I wouldn’t put the energy behind it,” said Lynch. “I started thinking about my life, and thought, ‘what has impacted me the most? Breast cancer. Because of my mom.’”

Not long after, William asked his neighbors if they knew of any local organizations focused on breast cancer that he could get involved with. Luckily, one of his neighbors was Cathy Friedman, a founding board member of the BCRFA and current advisory committee member. She encouraged him to contact Amy Stevens, who at the time was working to launch the BCRFA’s junior board.

William Lynch at Pink Up the Pace“Immediately, lightbulbs went off,” said Lynch. “This was a cause I cared about and it was starting from the ground up. I was getting in on the beginning stages and I knew we could create something that would make a lasting impact.”

William attended his first meeting, and from there, never stopped. Today, he serves as the Vice President of the junior board, working primarily on planning and fundraising for the annual Pink Up the Pace run – a brainchild of the first iteration of the BCRFA junior board.

Lynch cites the support of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB as an important driver of why he chooses to raise funds for the BCRFA, as well as the high investment rate that the organization invests in research. For every dollar donated to the BCRFA, 93 cents is invested in research.

As he continues to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research, William takes care to remind others of the importance of the work, and why both men and women should get involved.

“This cause matters to me. Personally. Breast cancer directly affected my family and it changed my life. It took someone very near and dear to us. I would give anything to have another hour or another minute with my mother,” said Lynch. “If I can do something that would allow someone else to get a few extra minutes, a few extra years or even a lifetime that I didn’t get to have – then it’s worth it.”

Have a story to share about breast cancer research? Visit our 25 for Research portal to share your story or nominate someone today.

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