When the name “Spielman” sounded throughout Ohio Stadium in the late 1980s, it was for Ohio State’s All-American linebacker Chris Spielman.
Times have changed, however, and those in attendance at Ohio State’s Pink Out game this Saturday will hear a different Spielman’s name.
Stefanie Spielman died in November 2009 after battling breast cancer. Since then, the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research has been raising money to find a cure, and a student organization at Ohio State is helping lead the charge.
Pink Out at Ohio State is a nonprofit student organization on campus that raises breast cancer awareness across the university and hosts fundraisers to benefit the Stefanie Spielman Fund, with its biggest event being “Pink Out the Shoe.”
“The goal of Pink Out is to create awareness on campus and also to raise funds because all college students have been impacted by breast cancer one way or another,” said Nancy Fisher, adviser of Pink Out at Ohio State.
The members of Pink Out at Ohio State want to do anything they can to be involved in the fight against breast cancer, said Emily Clausing, a Pink Out member and second-year in neuroscience.
“It is something everyone cares about because it is so prevalent,” Clausing said. “You want to do anything you can on any level and be a part of helping the greater good.”
Since the founding of Pink Out at Ohio State 11 years ago, the organization has been able to raise around $14,000 each year by selling pink shirts in the week preceding the “Pink Out the Shoe” game.
The organization, which started with the goal of raising $250,000, has recently surpassed $22 million in its 20th year.
Madison Spielman, daughter of Chris and Stefanie Spielman, said her parents “came up with an initial plan” to make the battle against breast cancer public and “to use their position in the spotlight to show people that they are not alone.” They felt it was a battle that should not to be fought alone, but with those around them who face a similar opponent.
Madison Spielman said that individuals fighting breast cancer can be weighed down by the consequences of the disease, but the goal of the “Pink Out the Shoe” is to provide people with a feeling of support from the sea of pink around them.
“It is one thing to hear someone is with you, but to see that sea of pink knowing they have that support,” Madison Spielman said. “Through that visual, I think it is going to be a powerful thing.”
Stefanie Spielman’s goal all along was to never let breast cancer get the best of her. Madison Spielman said no matter how bad things got, her mother always wanted to keep moving forward.
Madison Spielman said breast cancer has tragically taken the lives of many, but her family remains optimistic about the future.
“I wholeheartedly believe that we will find a cure for cancer in my lifetime, but not as individuals,” Spielman said. “I think as a united front is the only way to do it.”