At this year’s 15th annual Stefanie’s Champions Awards Luncheon, I had the opportunity to make a big announcement that I am honored to share again: The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) has raised more than $15.4 million!
Stefanie and I initially thought the fund might raise $1 million; never in our wildest dreams did we think it would achieve $15 million in 15 years. I am so thankful for our tremendous community and corporate partners who’ve made that happen. Whether you have made a donation, walked in a 5K, sold baked goods or bought a headband, I thank you. We would not have reached this milestone without you.
The researchers and clinicians at the OSUCCC – James and I know that we bear a great responsibility for the money you’ve entrusted us with. Rest assured that we are making extraordinary strides in breast cancer research and care with the support you’ve provided.
When Stefanie was going through treatment, one thing she despised was a condition commonly called “chemo fog” because it weakened her ability to be a mother and a wife and just made her feel icky – detracting from her quality of life. But OSUCCC – James researchers have identified what they think is an overactive cell that causes “chemo fog.” Now we have an anti-inflammatory drug that settles that cell down and hopefully prevents the fog so patients going through treatment can focus on quality of life.
Another drug that I’m excited to talk about slows down the aggressiveness of some cancer cells. One of the reasons that cancer is an opponent to be respected is because it’s aggressive. Once you start attacking cancer cells with a certain drug, some of them build a type of resistance to the drug and it stops working. But this new drug being developed at the OSUCCC – James hopefully will knock down some of those resistance walls and will help the drug keep working longer.
I do believe that within this generation we will see a cure for cancer. And I know that Dr. Mike Caligiuri believes a cure will be found. That’s his responsibility, his calling. That’s also Dr. William Farrar’s calling, Dr. David Schuller’s calling, Dr. Steven Gabbe’s calling and Dr. Charles Shapiro’s calling. In other words, that’s why they’re here. It’s their time.
I also want to thank you on behalf of all the other nurses and physicians at The James and at the Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center. They understand that they have been given an awesome gift to be of service to others. They also have been given a tremendous opportunity to make a positive impact on people’s lives. This is what they are called to do. The thing I am most proud of about The James is that, no matter how much money Stefanie raised, she received no preferential treatment. All James patients are special and are treated with equal compassion, respect, dignity and honor.
Stefanie left a tremendous legacy that is still being written. The end of the story will come when I read in a newspaper one morning that a cure for cancer was found in Columbus, Ohio, at the OSUCCC – James. And when you read about it, you will be able to say, “I was a part of that.” It’s a story you and I will be able to share proudly with our kids and grandkids. I’m firmly convinced of that.
By Chris Spielman
Co-Founder, Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research
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Category: Giving Back