Ed Razek: An Angel for The James
How does one surprise and honor a man who is frequently surrounded by Victoria’s Secret models and all the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry?
Perhaps by raising more than $1.2 million for a fund in his name at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).
That’s exactly what Abigail and Les Wexner, chairman and chief executive officer of Limited Brands, did for friend and colleague Ed Razek, chief marketing officer at Limited Brands and longtime OSUCCC – James Board member and supporter. At The James’ annual Celebration for Life event held May 18, the Wexners took to the stage to surprise Razek with the announcement that they and others had contributed more than $1.2 million to create the Ed Razek Fund.
Razek—known among friends for his larger-than-life personality—was at a loss for words. “It was truly a surprise and just a fantastic honor,” says Razek, who admits he has no idea how they kept the secret under wraps.
Judy and Steve Tuckerman, co-chairs of Celebration for Life, concur. Judy states, “It was thrilling to be a part of this surprise.” And Steve remarked that, “Knowing the surprise will benefit the great work being done at The James is the best part.”
Months earlier, Les Wexner sent a letter marked “Secret and Confidential” to dozens of Razek’s friends and colleagues. In it, he pledged $100,000 to kick off the fund, citing Razek’s longtime commitment to the OSUCCC – James as the basis for the effort. “Ed is being honored for his remarkable contributions to The James. He has spent countless hours, energy, resources and talent over the past decade in support of The James.
“As a cancer survivor, Ed’s work has been a labor of love and passion,” the letter continued. “Nothing any of us could do would be more meaningful to Ed.”
In addition to his years as a member of the OSUCCC – James Operating Board, Razek has also played a critical role in raising the stature of the organization. The man responsible for creating the iconic Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, Razek has lent his marketing prowess and creative talents to The James, helping position it as a national leader in groundbreaking cancer discoveries and treatments.
Friends and colleagues jumped at the chance to honor Razek’s accomplishments. Responses to Wexner’s appeal quickly poured in from across the nation—and as far away as London, England.
The Ed Razek Fund will fulfill a critical need, advancing cancer research by creating an information technology platform that will bolster the ability to identify patients for clinical trials. The system will enable clinicians to reach patients at the OSUCCC – James and throughout the nation’s other NCI cancer centers who are eligible to participate in clinical trials that use newly developed drugs to target specific markers in each patient’s tumor. Many of the anticancer agents utilized during clinical trials become FDA-approved medications for the successful treatment of cancer worldwide.
“This new system will substantially increase efficiency in the clinical trials process,” points out Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, director of the OSUCCC and CEO of The James, “ultimately resulting in more targeted and better treatment options for patients while helping speed up the FDA approval of anticancer drugs.
“The Ed Razek Fund is going to change lives,” Caligiuri adds, pointing out that the results will benefit people throughout the world as new treatments arise. “Ed has already done so much for The James, and now his fund will enable new advances in cancer treatment and research that will help us be more efficient and save more lives.”
Razek is grateful that his friends and colleagues have chosen to honor him in this way, and he cannot wait to hear the success stories that will stem from this new clinical trials matching system. “I am thrilled,” says Razek. “This is the very best gift I could ever receive. Truly, the gift of life.”
At Limited Brands, they believe it matters how they play the game. They’re passionate about doing well so they can do good in the communities where their associates live and work. Through high-impact community investments, associate volunteerism and giving, they strive to improve the lives of all their stakeholders and the global community. The Limited Brands SuperPeloton is made up of five Pelotons: Center, International/La Senza, Victoria’s Secret, MAST Global, and Bath and Body Works.