15:12 PM

Nationwide Awards Scholarship to Nationwide Children’s Hospital Patient Champion

Zaven Solomon of Columbus receives $10,000 college scholarship following “First Shot to Fight Cancer” at Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship

Nearly one year ago, 16-year old Zaven Solomon was starting his sophomore year of high school when a labored walk up the stairs signaled a much more serious problem – a cancerous mass in his chest. Zaven confronted the dreaded diagnosis with a fierce determination to overcome it, and he succeeded. Nationwide heard Zaven’s story and wanted to honor his courage and perseverance.

Nationwide, the founding partner of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (NCHC) golf tournament, surprised Zaven and his family with a $10,000 college scholarship this morning. The presentation was made prior to the first round of play at the Korn Ferry Tour Finals event at The Ohio State University Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio. The proceeds from the tournament benefit pediatric cancer research and treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Since the tournament’s inception in 2007, nearly $14 million has been raised for the hospital.

“Nationwide is very proud of our 60-plus year relationship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, one of America’s largest children’s hospitals and pediatric research centers,” said Jim McCoy, vice president of sponsorships, meetings & events at Nationwide. “Zaven’s story is one of perseverance and triumph. We’re thrilled to be able to present this scholarship to him as our way of paying tribute to every patient and family that has been touched by the amazing work being done by the doctors, nurses and staff at the hospital.”

Zaven’s journey began in August of 2019, when he experienced repeated difficulty breathing after navigating a flight of stairs during the first few days of school. After an initial visit to Zaven’s pediatrician, the X-ray results prompted an immediate trip to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for additional scans. The mass was confirmed to be cancer but a biopsy was needed to determine the exact type.

Zaven was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), as the mass in his chest was so large that it was pressing down on his heart and lungs which is why he was having trouble catching his breath. A team of Oncology and Cardiology physicians decided that he could not have a biopsy until his heart was treated. He had surgery on his heart which drained 12 ounces of fluid. He then had bone marrow surgery and finally a biopsy. Due to the impact of the mass on Zaven's heart and lungs, his doctors were concerned about giving him anesthesia, therefore, Zaven had all three of these surgeries while awake.

On August 27, 2019, Zaven was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s immune system. After a difficult journey that included chemotherapy and radiation treatments, along with an emergency appendectomy, Zaven completed his course of treatment in January and is currently cancer free.

Zaven, who earned an impressive 3.9 grade point average while fighting cancer during the 2019-20 school year, will soon start his junior year at Bishop Hartley High School.

“The last year was really tough but I knew I was getting the best possible treatment thanks to the amazing doctors and nurses at Nationwide Children’s,” said Zaven. “I’m so grateful for all the support I had from my family and friends, and it was cool to be invited to take the First Shot to Fight Cancer today. And getting a $10,000 scholarship from Nationwide was an awesome surprise!”

Nationwide Children’s remains the cornerstone beneficiary of Nationwide. Through Nationwide’s sponsorships of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship golf tournament, and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon, and partnerships with Hendrick Motorsports and The Dale Jr. Foundation, Nationwide sports marketing platforms have helped raise more than $38 million for the hospital since 2011.

“We continue to thank Nationwide for their incredible generosity to our patients and families,” said Niki Shafer, senior vice president of outreach, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation. “This particular gift will go a long way as Zaven and his family plan for his college education.”

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