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"I will do this with love" | One year after Chris Bradley's death, his family takes on new cause in his name

In Chris' memory, his family is carrying his legacy forward.

It was one year ago that we shared the news that our friend Chris Bradley had died.

For nearly two years, Chris waged the strongest of fights against leukemia.

And through it, he inspired others with his grace, his faith, and relentless spirit.

In Chris' memory, his family is carrying that legacy forward.

The Christmas tree is up, dressed in sterling ornaments and sterling memories. But at the Bradley-Krauss home, this season of love and light is missing something. Someone.

"The holidays have been a little trickier than I expected," said Jason Bradley-Krauss, Chris' husband. "Thanksgiving was bittersweet. I look back over 23 happy Thanksgivings, that we prepared big meals and sat down as a family and there's a....an empty place at the table."

It was their first Thanksgiving without Chris.

One year ago, in their home, surrounded by family, his fight came to an end.

"In so many ways it feels like it's been a decade, and in other ways, it feels like it was just a breath away. It's hard to imagine he's been gone an entire year. The journey through grief is excruciating. But I am challenged every day by Chris' spirit and his love to find the positive in all of this," said Jason.

"When Chris was ill, and he was able, he would walk down the steps every morning and he would turn off our porch light, and he would say, 'Thank you Lord.' And he maintained that level of gratitude for his life, up until his dying day. And I'm inspired by that."

Jason, and his children with Chris, Spencer and Maria, have already put that inspiration into action.

Through the Chris Bradley Memorial Foundation, they are turning the community's love for Chris into cash for worthy causes, Including the OSU James Cancer Center where Chris was treated.

The foundation is raising money in ways that are creative, and very "Chris."

"It's 'Tie one on with Chris Bradley.' And so we'll be auctioning off many of the neckties he's worn over the years. Some of them are beautiful. Some of them are not beautiful," Jason said with a laugh. "Chris had an amazing collection of neckties. I mean if you could be the Imelda Marcos of necktie wearers, that was Chris Bradley."

But now Jason is embarking on an ambitious new project through the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

"We're really excited this year that Chris' husband Jason has accepted the nomination to run for Man of the Year," said Breana Shawver of the Central Ohio Leukemia Lymphoma Society. "I know when he was nominated he took some time to think about it. He shared with us that Chris was really the face of the family- I'm kind of a little bit more private."

While "Man of the Year" sounds like an honor, it's actually a commitment - a major one.

Jason will compete with other nominees to raise as much money as possible- tens of thousands of dollars - in the rapidly expanding fight against cancer.

"Our CEO often says it's never a great time to be diagnosed, but this is a great time to be fighting cancer," Shawver said. "And the reason for that is that therapies are truly advancing at a speed that we've never seen before. Since 2017, we've had 54 new therapies approved by the FDA. So the science and technology are really coming together and the decades of research we've been investing is really coming to fruition."

Some of that research funded by the Leukemia Lymphoma Society is being done locally, at the OSU James Cancer Center.

Chris participated in clinical trials there that resulted in an FDA approval just days before he died.

"We did not have the right solution for Chris. But we want to have the next therapy for the person who is behind him being diagnosed," Shawver said.

Jason isn't sharing his fundraising goal just yet.

But previous Men and Women of the Year have raised $50,000- some even more than $100,000. He admits it's daunting.

"It is! To know Chris Bradley is to know - he would say, 'HEY! HOW'S EVERYBODY DOIN?' And he loved that kind of attention right? I'm an introvert by nature, and so I need to be refueled after stepping up for something like that. But I will do this in his honor and in his memory. And I will do this with love."

The 10-week fundraising period for Jason's "Man of the Year" competition doesn​'t start until April, but in the meantime, if you'd like to support the Chris Bradley Memorial Fund, click here.

For more information on Leukemia Lymphoma Society's Man & Woman of the Year, click here.

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