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URMC / Wilmot Cancer Institute / News & Events / Dialogue Blog / February 2020 / Fluke or Fate? Chance Meeting at a Bills Game Leads to an Enduring Love and Support

Fluke or Fate? Chance Meeting at a Bills Game Leads to an Enduring Love and Support

Dick and Marcia HilliardWhen Marcia Hilliard took up a friend’s offer to go to a Buffalo Bills game, she had no idea how it would change her life forever – but she’s so glad it did. That’s because it’s where she met Dick Hilliard, who’d later become her husband.

They would also become each other’s biggest supporters after dual cancer diagnoses years later. 

“She’s been my soulmate,” Dick says.

By chance or by fate, Marcia’s friend and her friend’s husband had season tickets to the Buffalo Bills games back in 1991, but her friend’s husband couldn’t go to a game. So, the friend invited Marcia.

Dick also had season tickets, seated right next to Marcia.

“It just was a fluke that we started talking and then the rest is history,” Marcia says.

The couple married on Aug. 7, 1992 and they’ve been together ever since – even as they both have dealt with cancer diagnoses. In 2002, Marcia learned she has multiple myeloma. She sees Frank Passero, M.D., and will be on treatment for the foreseeable future. She comes in to Wilmot Cancer Center once a week for an infusion.

A decade later, in 2014, Dick learned he had non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He sees Carla Casulo, M.D., and has finished his treatment course, which included chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, a few months ago, he started having to come in for weekly blood transfusions to keep up his red and white blood cell counts.

Luckily, most weeks the couple can come together for their infusions.

“Everybody’s been very accommodating for us to come together,” Marcia says. “I couldn’t ask for nicer people to take care of us.”

Last year, the couple renewed their vows during a Valentine’s Day party at St. Louis Church in Pittsford. They plan to do the same this Valentine’s Day. While that’s a bigger gesture, they support each other in small ways, too. They keep each other company and sharing a helping hand.

“I have trouble walking and she’s right there to help me, always,” Dick says.

Just like back in 1991 at the Bills game, Dick and Marcia sit next to each other in the Wilmot Cancer Center Infusion Center. It’s not fun or exciting like that Bills game was, but today, the love and support they still have for each other is perhaps more meaningful.

“I’m just glad that we’re still together despite what we’re going through,” Marcia said.

Dick adds, “Our love has kept us together.”

Global Administrator | 2/13/2020

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