Nationwide, a founding partner of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship (NCHC) golf tournament, surprised 14-year-old cancer survivor and NCHC patient champion Zander Craig with a $10,000 college scholarship Thursday morning. The presentation was made with the help of a video message from Nationwide spokesperson Peyton Manning prior to the first round of play at the Web.com Tour Finals event at the Ohio State University Golf Club in Columbus, Ohio. The proceeds from the tournament benefit Nationwide Children’s Hospital.
“Nationwide is very proud of our 60-plus year relationship with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, America’s largest children’s hospital and pediatric research center,” said Jim McCoy, associate vice president of sports marketing and sponsorships at Nationwide. “Zander’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.”
Zander’s family first noticed something was wrong with him when he was just nine years old after his left arm stopped working correctly. They also noticed changes in Zander’s personality that caused them concern.
Desperate for answers, Zander and his family turned to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in March 2015. An MRI revealed he had extensive brain tumors. Just five days after his diagnosis, Zander was in a 10-hour surgery to remove the largest of several tumors. After just under three weeks spent in the recovery and rehab unit, Zander defied all odds by walking out of Nationwide Children’s on his own.
Zander’s fight isn’t over. He had surgery again in June 2015 to remove another tumor and every three to four months has an MRI to monitor the growth of the inoperable tumors that remain. However, nothing stops Zander from thriving and living his life to the fullest. As a freshman at Findlay High School, he recently made the junior varsity golf team.
“My wife Kim and I talk about the hospital a lot. Just the environment, the staff, the friendliness of the people, the doctors…it’s amazing,” said David Craig, Zander’s father. “When you walk in there as a parent, you have so many thoughts going through your head to begin with. But when you spend time there, they put you at ease and are so supportive. We’re in awe to have the opportunity to bring awareness not only to Zander’s medical situation but what Nationwide Children’s has done for him as an individual.”
Nationwide Children’s Hospital remains the cornerstone beneficiary of Nationwide. Through Nationwide’s sponsorships of NASCAR, the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship golf tournament, and the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & ½ Marathon, Nationwide sports marketing platforms helped raise more than $6 million for the hospital in 2017. In all, Nationwide sports sponsorships have raised more than $27 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 is one that will impact Zander and his family for years to come.”
For more information about Nationwide Children’s Hospital or to make a donation, visit www.nationwidechildrens.org.