Most football fans are familiar with Chris Spielman. Spielman was a graduate of Washington High School in Massillon where he earned the Dial Award as the national high school scholar-athlete of the year in 1983, and went on to become a two-time All-American playing for The Ohio State University Buckeyes.
After graduating from OSU in 1988 Spielman played professional football for eight seasons with the Detroit Lions, then two seasons with the Buffalo Bills, followed by a career in broadcasting.
In 2009 Spielman was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Others might be more familiar with Chris Spielman’s challenges off the football field and away from sports. Spielman’s first wife Stefanie, his high school sweetheart, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998 and lost her battle to the disease in 2009.
During her battle with cancer, Stefanie, with Chris by her side, became an advocate in the fight against breast cancer, a fight that continues today through the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research.
Next Sunday, April 30, St. John Neumann’s Speaker Series will host An Evening with Chris Spielman, Triumph Over Tragedy.
“He’s going to talk about overcoming hardship and maintaining a positive outlook when we’re faced with circumstances that are beyond our control,” said St. John Neumann Communications Manager Jen Reinard. “Over the past six months or so our culture, our society, has turned more and more towards complaining. His message is to for us to stop complaining and to change our attitude when faced with life’s challenges.”
Reinard said the Evening with Chris Spielman is a community event; that everyone in the community is welcome to attend and hear Spielman’s message, and no registrations are necessary.
“Chris Spielman’s message about triumphing over tragedy is a message that’s appropriate for everyone,” Reinard said. “We can seat 1,400 people in our sanctuary, and we’re hoping to fill it. We would love to see community leaders, parents, grandparents, and children of all ages join us for this relevant message about triumphing over tragedy.”
Reinard said next Sunday’s An Evening with Chris Spielman begins at 7 p.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, 9633 East State Route 37, Sunbury.
Rockford Homes, Forman Realtors, and the St. John Neumann Good Samaritan Ministry are sponsoring the evening.
For additional information about Chris Spielman, the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, and the Spielman Family Foundation go to chrisspielman.com.
For additional information about St. John Neumann Catholic Church, worship schedules, and church events go to saintjohnsunbury.org.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.