Upper Arlington Man Among Those Receiving Stefanie’s Champions Awards

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On Wednesday, the Ohio State University James Cancer Hospital will present the Stefanie's Champions Awards for the 15th time.

The awards recognize caregivers who have supported a loved one through the fight against cancer.

An Upper Arlington man will receive one of the honors this year.

The dance class at JamesCare is for breast cancer survivors.  It's a new experience for Vickie Smith. She says she can't dance or carry a tune. But fighting triple negative breast cancer made her braver and encouraged her to try new things.

"Now I am dancing and I am also the world's worst dancer,” said Smith.

As he has since their first date in high school, husband Tony Cochran has been by her side throughout the illness.

"He has been my champion since I was sixteen,” added Smith.

Vickie's battle began two years ago, after she found a lump.

"In March I went to see my gynecologist. And I said to my husband, Tony, when we were in the waiting room, 'I really think I have breast cancer,” she said.

Late that night, she learned she was right.

"My first thought was - this cannot happen to Tony again.”

"My mother died of breast cancer, so I knew what it involved,” explained Tony. "So you just do what you have to do. I was just so sad for Vickie, though.”

Tony helped Vickie through surgery, chemotherapy and every decision and emotional bump along the way.  

He admired her wig, announced in paint the end of her chemo, and when treatment ended – he helped burn the clothes she wore while sick. Working together, they found the courage to survive.

Now, Vickie plans activities, eager to try new things, even those that once seemed the stuff of dreams.

"I haven't told my husband but I've actually entertained the thought of taking voice lessons.”

So far, Vickie also has tried yoga and acupuncture.
The Awards were named in honor of the late Stefanie Spielman. Her husband, Chris, shaved his head and gave up his professional football career to help his wife battle cancer.