Maddie Spielman is now a sophomore at Ohio State with a strong interest in broadcast journalism, most likely in sports. The direction is logical, having grown up in the spotlight alongside her father, Chris, a celebrated Buckeye and NFL football player. Yet it’s her tenacity and grace at age 18 that inspires others as she picks up the cancer fight in memory of her mom, Stefanie, who passed away in 2009 at the age of 42.
Coming Into Her Own
Before university officials and supporters at the Ohio Union, Maddie Spielman helped launch the But for Ohio State campaign on October 4, 2012. She expressed her admiration for her mom and for the care provided by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Heartwarming photos of her family taken over the years appeared on large screens around the Archie Griffin Ballroom.
“When I think of my parents, one word comes to mind: love,” she said. “My mom was the most selfless person I have ever met in my life. And my dad — I probably don’t tell him often enough — but he inspires me every day. Yet it wasn’t just how much my mom and dad loved each other that made our family special. It was how much they loved other people and what they went through to try to help others.”
Only 4 years old when her mom’s illness was diagnosed, Maddie had the benefit of a strong role model in Stefanie, who showed amazing strength, resilience and an ability to avoid self-pity. Big sister to Noah, 16, Macy, 11, and Audrey, 10, Maddie now lives on campus and fills her time with classes, intramural sports and speaking engagements in support of cancer research.
Being a Buckeye was her first and only choice for a college education. She made the decision, in part, to help sustain her mom’s legacy. “I feel like I’ve been a part of Ohio State all my life, but now I really am a part of it,” she said. “My freshman year was more than I ever could have hoped for, and I absolutely love it. The sense of unity and pride you feel as a Buckeye is truly one of a kind."
“The James treats every patient like they treated my mom, with compassion and respect and determination,” Spielman said. “I’ve always felt that cancer will be cured in my lifetime, and when it is, it will be at The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.”