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Students walk extra mile for Spielman, cancer research

Thomas Bradley / Campus editor

When cancer plagues the life of a loved one, it isn’t an experience that many take in stride. But at Scarlet, Gray and Pink: A Walk for Stefanie Spielman, community members took strides toward finding a cure.

About 250 Ohio State students, faculty and members of the Columbus community participated in this year’s Scarlet, Gray and Pink walk for breast cancer research Saturday on the West Plaza of the Ohio Union.

The walk was in honor of the late Stefanie Spielman who died of cancer in 2009 and was the wife of former OSU football player Chris Spielman,

The event, which has been held for 13 years, raised money for the Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer, as well as the newly named Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center at OSU.

“Spielman is one of the few breast cancer research funds where all of the money goes directly toward research,” said Millie Johnson, a fourth-year in hospitality management and chairwoman of this year’s walk.

Johnson, who is part of the Major Campus Events Committee at OSU, said she chose to organize this event for personal reasons.

“It’s pretty close to my heart because my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a couple years back,” she said. “She did survive, but it was still a big thing in my life … so raising funds for breast cancer research is something that is really important to me.”

Kaitlin Daniels, event adviser of the walk and program coordinator for OSU Recreational Sports, said she cancer has also affected her.

Her father, Joe Daniels, died of cancer in December. He was a former quarterbacks coach at OSU.

Kaitlin Daniels said her father’s battle with cancer made her extremely passionate about raising cancer awareness.

“Just everything that my family and I went through, and seeing how the Ohio State community responded … it was amazing seeing how such a terrible thing could produce so much good,” she said. “Being able to raise awareness about cancer research is something I’m really passionate about, and I hope it becomes a passion of everyone at Ohio State.”

Students were asked to donate $10, while adults donated $20 with the option to give more.

Participants were also given the choice to either register online or on the day of the event.

Before the actual walk, Chris Spielman, his daughter Madison and Sandra Young, an Upper Arlington resident and breast cancer survivor, spoke to the crowd about their experiences. The walk then began with participants walking down College Road to Woodruff Avenue, and then back down High Street to the Ohio Union.

Julie Cochran, a third-year in social work, participated in this year’s walk.

“I heard about it from friends and I thought that it would be a nice thing to do,” she said.

Cochran said overall, the event was a touching experience for her.

“It was really inspiring the way that Chris and his family took such an awful situation and did something great with it,” she said.

Johnson had similar statements when she described the experience of actually running the event.

“It was an awesome feeling to be there talking to people about this fund and about continuing to fight, and about keeping hope alive,” she said. “I’m really very happy that I was able to be part of it.”

Daniels said the exact amount of money raised at this year’s walk is still being calculated.

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