Ohio State Recognizes Cancer 'Champions' at April 9 Awards Luncheon

April 04, 2014

Honorees selected from Ohio, Wisconsin and California

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Four individuals, a grassroots fundraising organization and major corporation will be recognized as cancer “champions” Wednesday, April 9, 2014, at the 15th anniversary Stefanie’s Champions awards luncheon. The event is hosted by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).

The award program will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. at The Ohio Union Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom, 1739 N. High St. on the Ohio State University Campus. Proceeds benefit The Stefanie Spielman Patient Assistance Fund and The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at The OSUCCC – James. Ticket information is available here.

Champion Award Criteria, Nomination Process

Stefanie Spielman established Stefanie’s Champions to recognize one of the most critical factors in surviving cancer: loving, unwavering support. In Stefanie’s case, such support during her battle with breast cancer came from her husband, Chris.

To show her gratitude, Stefanie gave Chris the first Champion award in 2000. Stefanie’s battle ended in 2009, but it was her hope that all cancer survivors could name someone who stood by them, gave them courage and helped them through.

Caregiver champions can be nominated by any cancer survivor, regardless of whether they received treatment at the OSUCCC – James. Honorees are selected by a national award committee made up of business/community leaders, staff at the OSUCCC – James and members of Stefanie’s family and friends. Champions will be honored in three categories: caregivers and —for the first time in 2014 – community partners and corporate champions. A Champion of Hope will also be presented. This award recognizes individuals who selflessly give their time, energy and commitment to help the cancer community while furthering the mission of the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at the OSUCCC – James.

2014 Honorees

This year’s honorees include:


Tony Cochran of Columbus, Ohio: Nominated by his wife of 35 years, Vickie, for managing his career as a self-employed syndicated cartoonist and every aspect of their home life while also ensuring he was with Vickie at every single appointment and test as Vickie navigated treatment decisions for triple negative breast cancer.

Jill Meyer of Wausau, Wisconsin: Nominated by her friend, Susan Zanner, for being her “angel in her cancer journey.” Jill distributed pink bracelets to hundreds of people across the United States to remind Susan that no one fights alone and worked with Susan to raise more than $16,000 for support services and breast cancer research at the OSUCCC – James Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center.

Lyn Distel of Huntington Beach, California: Nominated by her sister, Lori Alexander, for becoming Lori’s “head cheerleader” throughout Lori’s cancer diagnosis and treatment– despite living in California. Lori says her sister sacrificed “nearly a year of her life” to help care for her (and her farm) while undergoing cancer treatment in Ohio.

Community Partner

St. Marys Tailgate for Cancer: In just five years, this grassroots group of 15 volunteers from a small, rural community in northwest Ohio has raised more than $290,000 in support of OSUCCC – James research and Auglaize and Mercer County nonprofit organizations providing assistance to cancer patients. The Friday night football tailgate was created in memory of a local woman’s mother who died from cancer. Originally envisioned as a small get-together among friends to raise money for research, the tailgate is now a 2,000 person-plus community-wide event that has drawn attention to the overall burden of cancer in these two counties.

Corporate Champion

The Kroger Company (Columbus Division): Kroger has been a substantial supporter of the OSUCCC – James for nearly a decade, contributing more than $2.6 million in support of cancer research efforts. The company’s support has come in many forms – from countless individual volunteer hours, to major event sponsorships (for example, the Ohio State “pink out” football game and annual Buckeye Cruise for Cancer) and in-store consumer cancer awareness/education campaigns including (for example, the 2011 Shed the Light Campaign pink light bulb initiative.) Kroger has also provided support to the OSUCCC – James’ research efforts through the Herbert J. Block Memorial Tournament, Tressel Family Fund for Cancer Prevention, and the Urban & Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research.

Champion of Hope

Judy Tuckerman: Community advocate and breast cancer survivor Judy Tuckerman gives generously of her time as part of many organizational boards across the Columbus community, including The James Foundation Board and The James Comprehensive Breast Center Advancement Committee. A native of Youngstown and current New Albany resident, Judy and her husband, Steve, founded and chair Celebration for Life, an annual fundraising event that has raised more than $12.5 million in 12 years for The OSUCCC – James.

About The OSUCCC – James

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 41 National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers and one of only four in the United States 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 228-bed adult patient-care component, The James is one of the top cancer hospitals in the nation as ranked by U.S.News & World Report.


Media Contact: Amanda J. Harper, Director of Media Relations, The OSUCCC–James, 614-293-3737 (central media line), 614-685-5420 (direct) or Amanda.Harper2@osumc.edu.

Contact Media Staff

Amanda Harper

Director of Media Relations

614-685-5420 (direct)

614-293-3737 (main)


Media staff are available by calling 614-293-3737 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.


If after hours, please call 614-293-8000 (ask the operator to page the hospital administrative manager).

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