COLUMBUS — Pandora's Josh Huffman was one of five people honored Wednesday in Columbus as one of Stefanie’s Champions.
The program annually honors those whose dedication and strength were powerful influences in the lives of cancer survivors. Huffman was nominated by his wife, Laura, a breast cancer survivor.
This is not the first time Huffman has been honored. In August 2007, he was recognized for saving a woman and child from a van submerged in a flooding river near their home.
“I felt his strength and calmness … it went straight to my soul during a time when my strength and sense of peace was nonexistent,” Laura Huffman said about Josh. She did not tell her husband she was nominating him for the award.
“If she would have, I would not have let her enter my name. I like to stay in the background,” Josh Huffman said. He learned about being selected as one of the champions on Valentine’s Day. “She gave me a card telling me about the award."
Laura said she learned about the award while reading a book by Stefanie Spielman. Speilman wrote about how her husband, Chris, went above and beyond his role as husband to care for her throughout her battle with cancer.
“It embodied everything Josh was for me,” Laura said. “Josh didn’t skip a beat. He learned everything about breast cancer including the terminology and treatment plan. He always was able to tell me what to expect and what was next.”
At age 31 with a husband and three small children, Laura was diagnosed with advanced triple negative breast cancer. Laura said Josh was at every appointment, making the drive from Pandora to Columbus, regardless of work commitments or how big or small the appointment was.
He rallied Laura through 16 weeks of dense dose chemotherapy, bilateral mastectomies, 38 radiation treatments and two stages of reconstruction. He started a binder, filling it with notes, asking questions and researching everything possible.
Josh Huffman said the hardest part about being a caregiver is seeing your spouse going through the treatments, pain and challenges of having cancer.
“The blessings we received though, are all the help we had from our family, friends and church,” he said. “The good part of people around you shines through when you’re struggling.”
Prior to the banquet at Ohio State University's Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom, the couple were interviewed for several hours to allow the “Stefanie’s Champions” staff to prepare a video on their story. The video was shown at the banquet.
Josh Huffman was presented a glass plaque during the awards ceremony. Accompanying the Huffmans to the banquet were their three children; Laura’s mother, Kathy Green; Josh’s parents, Charles and Jayne Huffman; and his sister-in-law Amber Huffman. Laura’s father, Don, was out of town and unable to attend.
“We had the opportunity to meet Urban and Shelley Meyer, who were the honorary chairs during the ceremony,” Josh Huffman said. “We really enjoyed that. Especially our children.”
The couple said they will continue to advocate for cancer research and urge their friends to get screened for early detection.
Other award recipients were from Dublin, Reynoldsburg, Worthington and Riverlea.