Dublin Villager

Stefanie's Champions Awards

Dublin man's support for wife earns recognition

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James Caudill doesn't see everything he's done for his wife as anything special.

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center -- Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute disagrees, however, and will name the Dublin resident one of five 2013 Stefanie's Champions.

The award, given out annually to caregivers who provided strength and support to cancer survivors, was created by Stefanie Spielman and first given to her husband, Chris, after he put his NFL career on hold to take care of her.

"I was surprised and probably the best way to describe it is humbled," Caudill said.

"I never thought of what I was doing as anything else than what I should be doing for the person I wanted to marry."

Caudill's wife, Beth, was diagnosed with a type of abdominal cancer before the couple was married. She had a tumor removed in 2002.

"Eventually they told her she had two or three years after the surgery as hard as it was on her body," he said. "It's been 10 years now and she's still here."

The couple was in college when the diagnosis came and Caudill decided to take a semester off school to work and look after Beth.

"We got married after the surgery," he said. "She decided after her treatment and surgery she wanted to go back to school to work in the medical field."

Beth earned the credentials to do lab work and secured a job in Dublin. Caudill gave up school to become a recording engineer and followed her, getting a job at AVI Foodsystems in Dublin.

Since then, Beth has dealt with more cancer and last had a treatment at the James Cancer Hospital in 2011, Caudill said. She now works at the very hospital she gets treatment at and Caudill is still at AVI Food-systems as a chef and manager.

Like Chris Spielman, who was the first to be honored with a Stefanie's Champion Award, cancer has changed the course of Caudill's life. He sees the former football player as an inspiration.

"I'm Ohio born and raised," Caudill said.

"I've been an OSU fan all my life. I'm 33 and I remember the first OSU game I saw was during Chris Spielman's freshman year," he said. "I went from that point to being able to follow his career.

"When he gave up his career and helped Stefanie -- I've always seen him as my personal hero. He's someone to judge my actions after.

"If he could give up an NFL career to be with Stefanie, why am I worried about sacrificing my career to be with my wife?"

Caudill is excited about meeting Spielman and OSU Football Coach Urban Meyer at the April 10 awards ceremony, but still isn't quite sure what to think about the honor.

"I think it's more about telling Beth's story and getting out to tell her survivor's story," he said.

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