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Nationwide awards scholarship to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Patient Champion

Reid Zupanc of Delaware receives $10,000 college scholarship following First Shot to Fight Cancer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

When sixteen-year-old Reid Zupanc approached the first tee at The Ohio State University Golf Club’s Scarlet Course, taking the ceremonial First Shot to Fight Cancer to open the 2023 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, he was taking a swing against the disease that changed his life at just five years old.

Nationwide, a founding partner of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship golf tournament, wanted to honor Reid’s 11-year fight against cancer by surprising him with a $10,000 college scholarship. The presentation preceded the opening round of play at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals event.

“I was shocked,” Reid said after receiving the scholarship. “I want to study biochemistry in Wales, and this is really going to help me with my endeavors.”

Reid’s cancer journey began in 2011 with what was expected to be a routine visit with his Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist. Before a procedure to have a second set of ear tubes placed in both eardrums, Reid’s mother, Lani, noticed an unusual bump on the top of Reid’s head. Although it was small and seemingly non-concerning, the ENT specialist scheduled a surgery to remove the cyst and have it tested by pathology. Tests indicated that the bump was benign, and the family was relieved.

A few months after that surgery, bumps began to reappear on Reid’s head. Further testing showed that the bumps were malignant tumors. Reid was diagnosed with a vascular cancer called Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma, a rare cancer that affects the lining of the blood vessels in the liver and lungs. His cancer was even more rare due to the area of its initial growth. Upon diagnosis, Reid was immediately admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where he began six months of chemotherapy. In the years that followed, he also endured more than 15 surgeries, including: tumor and lymph node removals, a skin graft, and a lung biopsy.

For the last several years, Reid has been stable and follows up with his oncologist annually to monitor his health. He is currently a junior year at Buckeye Valley High School in Delaware and also takes college courses full time. After graduation, he hopes to go to college in Wales and study biochemistry. He further aspires to attend medical school at the University of London.

“Reid’s perseverance and positivity in the face of a life-altering challenge exemplifies the charitable mission of this tournament,” said John Carter, president of Nationwide Financial and chairman of the tournament’s host organization, Champions of the Community. “Nationwide is pleased to present this scholarship to Reid as our way of paying tribute to every patient and family who has been touched by the amazing work done by the doctors, nurses, and staff at Nationwide Children’s.”

“We’re very appreciative of Nationwide’s ongoing generosity to our patients and families,” said Steve Testa, president, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Reid’s story shows his strength and spirt and it’s great to know that this gift will support his future.”

Tournament proceeds benefit pediatric cancer research and treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Since the tournament’s inception in 2007, more than $22 million has been raised for the hospital. 

Nationwide Children’s Hospital remains the cornerstone beneficiary of Nationwide. Through Nationwide’s sponsorships of the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday events — including the Legends Luncheon, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon, the Columbus Crew, and a partnership with The Dale Jr. Foundation, Nationwide sports marketing platforms have helped raise more than $55 million for the hospital since 2011.

For more information about Nationwide Children’s Hospital or to make a donation, visit NationwideChildrens.org.