The 13th annual Stefanie’s Champions awards luncheon honored five extraordinary heroes on Wednesday, April 11, 2012. The Champion 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.
Net proceeds from the luncheon benefit the Stefanie Spielman Patient Assistance Fund and the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). Since 1999, more than $10 million has been raised for the funds through community events and donations.
Special thanks to our 2012 Sponsors
Presenting Sponsor: William H. Davis, Dorothy M. Davis and William C. Davis Foundation
Champion Sponsors: The Kroger Co., Mills James
Media Sponsors: The Dispatch Printing Co., WBNS 10TV, 97.1 The Fan
Luncheon Sponsors: Abigail and Les Wexner
Pink Ribbon Sponsors: Atlas Industrial Contractors, Baker Hostetler, OSUCCC-James Cancer Hospital and Richard Solove Research Institute, Grange Insurance, Greif, Inc., Huntington, Ohio Orthopedic Center of Excellence, Karen and Stuart Sloan
Meet our 2012 Stefanie's Champions!
Champion Alexander Alston III, nominated by his wife, Wynyki Alston
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.”
Champion Dustin Frazier, nominated by his wife, Kristi Frazier
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, nominated by her mother, Angela Harris
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, nominated by her son, Alex Kip
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, nominated by her friend, Elizabeth Larson
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.