For anyone who is diagnosed with cancer, the most important person in your fight is the person who has been by your side in the past and who will be there for you no matter what may happen. For me, it was my husband, Kirk. He was my angel. He took care of me and everything else in ways I could never have imagined. But, the one thing that I have always wanted to understand is how he was able to stand so strong and be willing to move mountains for me to make my journey as easy as possible without flinching. I believe I finally found some of the answers after having read “That’s Why I’m Here” by Chris Spielman.
If you are a football fan as I have been all of my life, the name of Chris Spielman is a household name. His story, which is chronicled in the book, lays the foundation that explains who he is and the values that he learned early on in life that created his drive to do the best and be the best that he could be. Adding to that base is a belief and trust in God that will sustain him through every moment of his journey. And what a journey it is!
Chris met Stefanie, the girl of his dreams, when she was just 15. The love and light that she brought to his life is evident in every word that he writes about her. We see Stefanie through his eyes in a way that paints a picture of a most strong and courageous woman who fought cancer in ways that many can only imagine. She is an inspiration to anyone who ever has to deal with this disease that eventually took her life. We come to know the heart and soul in her that loved her husband and children with every fiber of her being and wanted more than anything else to be certain that they would all be fine when her life here was done. And in the midst of it all, she and her husband created “The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Patient Assistance” and “The Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research” at Ohio State University whose work and missions are being carried on by Chris to this day.
The Spielmans’ story is a true love story. A belief in the life that they created together, the love that they had for each, their children and their God allowed them to build a foundation for their children that will sustain them throughout their lives. Regardless of the circumstances, they both were always there for each other and were able to be comforted by the fact that although Stefanie’s death would separate them, it would only be for a short time in comparison to the eternity together that they would eventually share.
I am so grateful that Chris has chosen to share this story with all of us as we now have a better idea of what makes up the essence of a man who stands by his wife and family in the face of adversity. The story will make you smile and cry but ultimately will give you an appreciation for the human spirit unlike any that you may have known before.
And I have a message for Chris from every woman who has ever shared even a portion of Stefanie’s journey in dealing with cancer. Thank you for telling this story that gives us insight into what you experienced and for all of the love and respect shown to Stefanie always. Please know that Stefanie loved and appreciated you so much more than you will ever know. I know this because I have never been able to express to my husband what his love and support has meant to me during my two rounds with breast cancer and I am sure that every other woman has felt exactly the same way.