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FAYETTEVILLE – Dec. 17, 2019 –  Jesse H. Byrd has won the Mary Lynn McCree Bryan Leadership Award for his years of cancer patient advocacy work.

The Bryan Leadership Award annually recognizes the person who best exhibits excellence in leading a Cumberland County charitable organization toward sound nonprofit best practices.

Byrd, a retired CPA, is a founding member of Friends of the Cancer Center (FOCC), which formed in 1989 to help support area cancer patients and their families. The support includes financial assistance, hats, scarves, yoga, and art therapy programs, all free of charge to patients.

The FOCC became a part of Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation in 2002, allowing Byrd to join the foundation’s board of directors. He has been on the board since.

During his tenure, Byrd has led fundraising campaigns that helped create Cape Fear Valley Health’s Diabetes Center, Holiday Open House Tours and annual Ribbon Walk. He has also helped grow the Health Foundation through continuous fundraising in the community.

Byrd’s wife, Irene, died of cancer, which led to his dedication to the cancer community over the years. In 2014, Byrd helped establish the Irene Thompson Byrd Cancer Care Endowment to continue her memory. The endowment has grown to nearly $1 million today.

The Mary Lynn McCree Bryan Leadership Award celebrates the leadership of Mary Lynn McCree Bryan who worked with Cumberland Community Foundation during its formative years. Part of the organization’s goal is to recognize exemplary nonprofit board leadership and the importance of board participation.

Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation will receive $1,000 under the Bryan Leadership Award to use toward board member development.

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