Shine for a Cause: The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research


The Who

The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research was founded in 1998 at Ohio State’s Comprehensive Cancer Center—James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, or (OSUUCCC—James). The Spielman Fund was created to ensure that both the current needs of breast cancer research, as well as the long-term vision, are provided for. Therefore, the Spielman fund consists of both endowment and current use funds. Current use funds are fully expended during a short period of time, giving them immediate impact, while endowed funds are invested and maintained in perpetuity to provide long-term impact. Which, is important, as the endowed funds ensure the OSUCCC—James can drive the fight against breast cancer, no matter how the economy is performing.

The Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center itself is the first of its kind. The center offers the full continuum of breast cancer care. The full continuum of care offers prevention and screening through detection, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship all-in-one. Coining the term, “Don’t get a routine mammogram. Get a James mammogram”.

The Story

The story behind the fund is not only an amazing organization but an amazing person.

Stefanie Spielman grew up in northeastern Ohio and married her high-school sweetheart, Chris, after the two of them graduated from the Ohio State University. However, during a self-breast examination in 1998, Stefanie found a lemon-sized lump and mentioned it to her doctor. He diagnosed her with breast cancer at only 30 years old.

Chris, as an all-American football player, went on as an all-pro NFL career for more than 10 years. However, upon news of Stefanie’s diagnosis, he took time off to care for his family. This unexpectedly brought national attention and led to more and more people talking about breast cancer in the public sphere. As a result, an increasing number of people were educated about its prevalence, as well as its prevention. Stefanie and Chris used this as an opportunity to impact even more lives.

Many people within the community asked Chris what they could do to help. Chris urged one local grocery chain in particular to raise money for the OSUCCC—James by having customers buy paper footballs for $1 to sign and display all over the store walls. This quickly started a movement across the state of Ohio. Supporters raised money any way they could ranging from bake sales to golf tournaments. Within the first 6 months, Stefanie and Chris bypassed their initial goal of $250,000 and raised more than $1 million for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.

Stefanie’s greatest hope was that all cancer survivors would be able to name someone who stood by them and gave them courage through their diagnosis. After a decade-long battle, she left everyone with one final thought: continue to fight. It is her positive, grateful attitude that leaves coming generations with a legacy of hope.

Click here to read Stefanie’s story in greater detail. 

Stephanie Spielman Family

A Few Quick Facts

  • Made possible through donations, a smart bra, or the “iTBra”, is being developed by Ohio State. Patches designed to be worn inside the bra detecting early signs of breast cancer without the need for mammograms or ultrasound screenings.
  • Stefanie and Chris Spielman gave birth to three daughters and one son; Audrey, Madison, Macy, and Noah
  • One in eight women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women.
  • Over 2.8 million breast cancer survivors are alive in the U.S. today.

How to Donate

There are a few ways! As you may know, at Argo & Lehne we’re celebrating women the whole month of March. If you’re feeling social, on Tuesday, March 14th from 5-8pm we’re throwing a party for the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. If you bring an accepted donation, you will receive 15% off all new in-stock jewelry and 10% off giftware. What’s more, the Stefanie Spielman Fund receives 10% from all in-stock purchases for their cause!

Please visit our event information page for the list of approved items.

Busy that day? Purchase any Sharon Wei piece anytime during the week of March 13-18 and 10% of the purchase goes back to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.

How to Volunteer

Volunteers are asked to make a weekly commitment between two and four hours in length. The Volunteer Team works to determine which assignment, day, and time fits each individual’s talents and schedule. Opportunities are present at both their hospital and outpatient locations. Examples of positions include Escorting, Restful Nights, Surgery Waiting Area, Chemotherapy Clinic Assistant, and Patient & Family Advisors. Click here for volunteer information.