Most people in central Ohio are familiar with the last name Spielman. Whether it is former Ohio State and NFL linebacker Chris Spielman or his wife Stefanie Spielman, who battled cancer for over 10 years. When Stefanie was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, she and Chris started a quest to raise money for breast cancer research with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. It has now been 3 years since Stefanie Spielman passed away, but her message and name are now being carried on by her eldest daughter, Maddie Spielman.
Maddie was only 15 when Stefanie passed away. For so long she struggled with not only missing Stefanie, but trying to figure out life without a mom. Maddie kept her emotions bottled up inside her and it had taken a toll on her everyday life. “I was once very shy and timid, scared of what people would think of me. The second I opened up and talked about my struggles with grieving and the loss of my mom, it was as if a huge weight was lifted off my chest. From that point on I realized what I wanted to do! I didn’t want others struggling through the same situation to go through what I went through. Now I share my story with others as much as I can. I decided to start speaking at events on behalf of the Stefanie Spielman fund not only to share my mother’s miraculous story but also to let people know they are not alone in the constant fight against breast cancer.”
Maddie finds the inspiration to speak at events from her mom. “She was my best friend and truly the most amazing person I have ever met. Her selflessness and her never-ending desire to help others is truly admirable. I try to model her character and compassion everyday with how I compose myself.” Maddie also has a strong support system with her father, Chris, and her siblings, Noah, Macy, and Audrey. “It is definitely a challenge to balance school, my work with the fund, and spending time with the people I love. They are behind me every step of the way and I am so blessed to have each and every one of them in my life.”
Maddie currently balances being a student at The Ohio State University with being a speaker, spokesperson, and model. She’s done commercials for Donatos and Kroger for breast cancer awareness month and she has modeled for Capital Style twice and hopes to pursue that career even further in the near future. With such a busy schedule, Maddie says that the best advice given to her was from her father Chris when he told her to live one day at a time. “So many people get caught up in the worries of the future, but I found it to be more fulfilling if you live every day as if it’s your last.”
Maddie is most proud of being able to wake up every day and continue the battle that her mother started so many years ago. “I think it is a total blessing that I am able to honor my mother with the work that I do.” For more details about the Stefanie Spielman Fund, visit www.spielmanfund.com.