The year 1999 was painful for me and my family. My wife, Ina-Mae, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Fortunately the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center is located here in Birmingham. And I’m absolutely convinced Ina-Mae would not have survived without UAB.
Patients come from all over the world to visit UAB. When Ina-Mae registered with doctors at Kirklin Clinic, nurses seemed genuinely surprised we lived almost in walking distance.
I’ve had friends tell me they’ve had family members visit other high profile medical centers to be told to go back to Birmingham and UAB for the best care.
So, how do I feel about Birmingham?
I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
I’ve written some less than flattering pieces about Birmingham’s shortcomings, but most describe our failure in economic development. Quality of life is way more important to me and I’m convinced Birmingham is number one in quality of life.
If you don’t believe me, ask people who’ve moved here from other places. What do these new arrivals know that we take for granted?
I’ve already alluded to our superior healthcare, but visitors and newcomers unanimously point to these three positives.
Birmingham people are nice and they are very generous.
Birmingham residents are routinely acknowledged for their generosity. Birmingham has one of the highest per capita giving in the U.S. Our United Way has reached its goal every year since World War II and is recognized as fifth in the U.S. for individuals who contribute $10,000 a year or more. Note that Birmingham’s the 49th largest metropolitan area, but 5th in big givers.
Second, Birmingham is absolutely gorgeous–rolling hills, mountains, with lush flowers and foliage. Dogwoods and Azaleas in the spring; a brilliant display of colors in the fall.
And third, Birmingham is easy to get around. I know 280 at times can be frustrating, but compared to other cities, Birmingham’s a dream.
It’s often difficult to convince others to move to Birmingham, but when they get here, they never want to leave.
There’s not a better place to raise a family.
I love Birmingham, but we can do better.
David Sher’s goal is to create a conversation on how to fix our fragmented and dysfunctional local government.
David Sher is a partner in Buzz12 Content Marketing and co-CEO of AmSher Receivables Management. He’s past Chairman of the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce (BBA), Operation New Birmingham (ONB), and the City Action Partnership (CAP).