Stefanie's Champions Luncheon Honors Cancer Caregivers  

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Posted: 3/12/2012

     COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 13th annual Stefanie’s Champions Awards luncheon will honor five extraordinary heroes in the lives of cancer patients in the Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom at The Ohio State University’s Ohio Union, 1739 N. High Street, on April 11 at noon.
 
     The award, established by Stefanie Spielman and her husband, Chris Spielman, is designed to honor an important factor in cancer treatment, the loving and healing presence of a devoted caregiver.
 
     Brief bios are included below for champions and nominators from Gahanna, Lewis Center, Newark and Dublin, Ohio, as well as from New York City.
    
     Net proceeds from the luncheon benefit the Stefanie Spielman Patient Assistance Fund and the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). Since 1999, more than $9.1 million has been raised for the funds through community events and donations.
 
     Stefanie gave the first Champion award to her husband after he put his professional football career on hold to care for her when she was first treated for breast cancer in 1998 at OSUCCC – James. Stefanie’s battle with breast cancer ended in November 2009.
 
     Patrons may reserve a Pink Ribbon table for 10 for $3,500. A table for eight is $1,500. A Friend of Stefanie ticket is $250 and individual tickets are $100. For more information, call the OSUCCC – James development office at 614-293-3744, or visit www.spielmanfund.com
 
Stefanie’s Champions Bios – 2012
 
CHAMPION: Alexander Alston, III, 41, Gahanna, Ohio (husband)
Nominator: Wynyki Alston, 43, Gahanna, Ohio (wife, multiple myeloma survivor)
 
     After suffering for months, in February 2009, Wynyki Alston was told eight unforgettable words. “Ms., Alston, we believe you may have cancer.” After hearing the news, Wynyki and her husband, Alex, a military man who had served eight tours in the Middle East fighting the war on terror, were about to fight a very different war.
 
     “He arranged around-the-clock care for me and our 3 children while still fulfilling his full-time military responsibilities and running our family business,” wrote Wynyki Alston. He arranged for out of town family members to come in and made sure someone was with his wife at all times.
 
     During recovery, Alex helped Wynyki accomplish everything in her life. “Throughout it all, my husband Alex was willing to do whatever it took to hold our family together for my sake, and the sake of our children,” she wrote.
 
     Two years later, Wynyki was ready to attend her appointments alone; however, Alex would figure out a way to attend the appointments, even if this meant driving three hours. “Who does that? My Alex does that. A Stefanie’s Champion does that.”
 
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CHAMPION: Dustin Frazier, 31, Lewis Center, Ohio (husband)
Nominator: Kristi Frazier, 32, Lewis Center, Ohio (wife, breast cancer survivor)
 
     “My husband, Dustin, encompasses words that define a champion. He is my advocate. He is my friend. He is my biggest supporter and he is my true believer. He is MY champion,” wrote Kristi Frazier. Nine months after exchanging wedding vows in 2006, Kristi was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer.
 
     Dustin was finishing his last exam for law school when he was told the news. He rushed to be with Kristi and from that point forward, he helped her with every appointment and did as much research as possible. “It was clear that above anything else in his life, I was his priority.” A week after diagnosis, Kristi found out she was pregnant and Dustin did everything he could to aid Kristi before, during and after the pregnancy.
 
     In 2008, Kristi was cancer-free and began reconstructive surgery and expanded their family to four. Life was back on track. In April of 2011, Kristi learned the cancer had recurred. Now with two children, Dustin has worked harder than ever to keep the family happy and healthy. “The saying, ‘A woman’s work is never done’ does not apply in our lives. ‘Dustin’s work is never done’ is much more accurate. Dustin is truly a gift to our family.”
 
# # #
 
CHAMPION: Tameika Harris, 29, Newark, Ohio (daughter)
Nominator: Angela Harris, 51, Newark, Ohio (mother, breast cancer survivor)
 
     In April 2009, Angela Harris was diagnosed with breast cancer and began a course of treatments. Her daughter, Tameika, immediately left her own apartment to come home to stay with her mother. “She had just had my first grandchild, which was only 4-months old,” Angela Harris wrote. Her life was turned upside down, not only with caring for a new baby, but also caring for me unconditionally,” she wrote.
    
     Tameika made sure her mother made it to every appointment and every chemotherapy treatment. “My daughter gave a lot of herself as I fought this horrible ordeal.”
           
     Less than a year later, Angela was diagnosed once again with breast cancer and had to have her breast removed. “My breast does not make me,” she said. Tameika stayed with her mother day and night taking care of her. During that time, Tameika learned she was pregnant with her second child, and her first child was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. “Not only is she my champion for what she has done and continues to do for me through my cancer treatment, but also for giving up her whole life to live at Nationwide Children’s Hospital with my 2-year-old granddaughter and her newborn baby day and night.”
 
# # #
 
CHAMPION: Cindy Kip, 52, Gahanna, Ohio (mother)
Nominator: Alex Kip, 24, New York, NY (Son, Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survivor)
 
     During Christmas 2010, Alex Kip was embarking on a challenging journey of a stem cell transplant. While his friends were worrying about trivial things, he was wondering whether he would beat his 30-percent odds at life. As Alex was weeks away from graduating college, he was diagnosed and needed to be transferred to the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Cindy Kip made sure the insurance transferred smoothly. “My mother cared about one thing and one thing only: me,” wrote Alex Kip.
           
     Cindy not only worried about the financials, but worried about asking questions, finding out all of the information and making sure everything went well. She also suggested altering eating habits for a healthier lifestyle, including cutting out gluten and soda. “Changing the eating habits of a college student is not an easy task. Through leading by example, she pressured me to restructure my health habits, a crucial part in my battle and now daily life.”
 
# # #
 
CHAMPION: Hillary Pecsok, 33, Worthington, Ohio (friend)
Nominator: Elizabeth Larson, 57, Columbus, Ohio (friend, breast cancer survivor)
 
     In 1995, Hillary Pecsok was a junior in Elizabeth Larson’s French IV high school class. Hillary went on to become a teacher in Cincinnati while Elizabeth continued teaching in Columbus. They developed a friendship throughout the years. “I am proud and incredibly fortunate to call her my best friend. How many students and teachers become best friends?” wrote Elizabeth Larson.
           
     In spring 2008, Elizabeth was diagnosed with breast cancer. When Elizabeth shared the news with Hillary, the younger teacher was upset, but then her voice was strong. “She vowed from Day One to be my constant companion along the frightening and winding path of our journey.” Hillary took days off of work to help Elizabeth throughout her chemotherapy and did whatever she could to help out around the house. She helped Elizabeth pick out a wig, and Hillary has created a project with her students in which they are growing out their hair to donate to a wig and hair boutique. 
 
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     The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute strives to create a cancer-free world by integrating scientific research with excellence in education and patient-centered care, a strategy that leads to better methods of prevention, detection and treatment. Ohio State is one of only 40 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only seven centers funded by the NCI to conduct both phase I and phase II clinical trials. The NCI recently rated Ohio State’s cancer program as “exceptional,” the highest rating given by NCI survey teams. As the cancer program’s 210-bed adult patient-care component, The James is a “Top Hospital” as named by the Leapfrog Group and one of the top 20 cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. 
 
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Contact: Gretchen Sauer, Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-


Tags: James Cancer Hospital; OSU Medical Center; Events; Cancer; Breast Cancer; Multiple Myeloma

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: jamesline@osumc.edu