Ohio State has named its breast cancer treatment and research center for Stefanie Spielman, the late wife of Buckeyes All-American linebacker Chris Spielman, the school announced Monday.
The Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center offers a full range of breast cancer care prevention, detection and treatment services, as well as a number of the nation's leading breast cancer researchers and doctors.
Stefanie Spielman, a 1989 graduate of Ohio State, died in 2009 at age 42 after a 12-year fight against the disease. Her husband, who played 10 years in the NFL, left the Buffalo Bills for a year to be with his wife and family during that battle.
"First and foremost, Stefanie made a difference in the lives of countless patients and their families in the fight against cancer," university president E. Gordon Gee said in a statement released by the school. "She touched those struggling with their diagnosis and treatments, helping to make their worlds more comfortable, more optimistic, and more affirmative. She possessed an uncommon combination of bravery, grace, and compassion that continues to resonate through her remarkable legacy."
After the cancer was diagnosed, the Spielmans set out to raise money for breast cancer research at Ohio State's James Cancer Hospital. To date, the fund established by the couple has raised $9.1 million, according to the university.
On Monday, Chris Spielman, who is currently a college football analyst for ESPN, said he and Stefanie, in raising funds for the hospital, were trying to "pay it forward," a concept often cited by Ohio State football coaching great Woody Hayes.
"If you invest in the future of others, that investment is guaranteed to grow," Spielman said. "If you keep everything you have, all the services that you have, all the love, all the loyalty, all the good works within you, if you keep it, you lose it."