Donna McNulty Reinbolt, B.A. ’83
Survivor, Advocate, Leader
By Jim Sciancalepore, M.A.’93
very week, people from across the country reach out to Donna McNulty Reinbolt via email, LinkedIn, Twitter and other media. They are often frightened, confused or overwhelmed, because they or their family members have been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that impacts an estimated 659,000 Americans. Reinbolt takes the time to reply to each inquiry.
“It’s easy to start looking too far down the road when you receive news like this,” Reinbolt explained. “I try to help them take it one step, one day at a time.”
She understands their feelings all too well. In 2007, the accomplished attorney and mother of two learned that she had lymphoma. Nine difficult months would follow as Reinbolt underwent a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. Thankfully, her treatment was a success – she recently commemorated five cancer-free years. However, lymphoma wasn’t just a life-altering circumstance for Reinbolt; it led her to an entirely new career.
“I began simply wanting to volunteer and give back to the lymphoma organization that had helped me so much,” said Reinbolt. “But then it grew into something more.”
“I got a great education from excellent faculty members,” Reinbolt recalled of her undergraduate experience. “It’s part of who I am today.”
Reinbolt would go on to found the Houston chapter of the Lymphoma Research Foundation and, more recently, she was appointed a board member at the national level. Her current job is a blend of
advocacy, policy-setting and fundraising, all of which draw on Reinbolt’s talents for learning and collaboration – skills she cultivated as a student at UAlbany.