Race for the Cure: Heather and Stefanie's Team

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

One woman raised awareness about breast cancer from a news desk at 10TV, while the other raised millions for research through her own charitable foundation.

Heather Pick and Stefanie Spielman brought the fight against breast cancer into the public eye and modeled how to thrive graciously with the disease. Over the years, the two women also became close friends.

Though both passed away - Pick on Nov. 7, 2008, and Spielman on Nov. 19 - neither will be forgotten.

As the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure takes to the streets Saturday, May 15, thousands will honor these local heroes - and they'll do so in style. Heather and Stefanie's Team will flood into Downtown wearing pink wigs, one of Pick's trademark accoutrements.

Founded in 2009, Heather's Team initially numbered more than 6,500, as friends, fans, family and fellow survivors rallied behind her memory. This year, it was only natural to honor Pick and Spielman together, said Doug Jones, promotion director for 10TV and Ohio News Network.

"They were always looking to help, appearing at functions and raising awareness together," Jones explained. "When Stefanie passed, we knew it was something that had to be done out of respect for them, to carry on their legacy."

Heather and Stefanie's Team is expected to be nearly twice as big as last year's group.

And many of the wigs will be cuter, too.

Long a champion of cancer research, the Charles Penzone Family of Salons offered to style wigs for team members who registered at locations in Dublin, Gahanna and Polaris. For an extra $5, they could trade an unopened wig for one cut and pampered by Penzone hairdressers.

"When I was behind the chair, I'd see how much [cancer] affected a woman," said company president Debra Penzone, who has cut hair for 25 years. "The staff has been so inspired, and they love to give back their time and their talent."

As of May 6, salon staff had styled more than 300 wigs. Another truckload was on its way.

Styled or not, the sea of pink wigs will be a reminder of two women who never gave up hope of ending the disease.

"I think they were soul mates and just kind of grabbed onto each other's strengths and played off them," said Andrea Cambern, a 10TV news anchor who worked with Pick and covered Spielman's struggle for years. "They could've battled these things quietly, and we would've honored them just the same. But because they wore these things on their sleeve, we're all going to benefit for decades."