Feb. 25, 2014
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Raising funds for cancer research is the goal of the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer. The seventh such voyage was completed Monday morning, after a four-day-and-five-night excursion to Grand Cayman Island, and this year's cruise has raised a record amount so far: approximately $1.5 million for the Urban & Shelley Meyer Fund for Cancer Research and The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.
The Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, organized by Lisa Cisco and Chris Quinn of Travel Partners in Dublin and hosted in the past by Chris Spielman and his late wife, Stefanie, and now by Urban and Shelley Meyer, has raised upward of $4 million for cancer research.
"I can't thank Lisa and her team enough, and the hundreds of volunteers who work so hard and are so dedicated to making this cruise such a rewarding experience," Meyer said. "The cruise would not be possible without the nonstop work of her team and the volunteers. They are always eager to assist...always eager to go.
"And I also send special thanks to the many former Buckeyes like Archie Griffin, Kirk Herbstreit, Eddie George, Joey Galloway and A.J. Hawk, the great medical doctors from the James who take part and the legions of fans from Buckeye Nation who generously donate."
Cisco says everyone associated with the cruise understands the seriousness of raising cancer awareness, yet knows how to have fun working for this cause.
"Everyone gets what this cruise is all about," Cisco said. "Coach Meyer and his family and the former athletes are engaged, are accommodating and they are simply the best of the best with regard to being great hosts.
"And our fans on board - truly some of the best supporters for The Ohio State University - have such passion and they want this cruise to succeed at raising funds. I'm not sure there is another school that could fill an entire ship with such a significant and loyal fan base that wants to be a part of such a good cause."
More than 2,300 Ohio State fans take over an entire ocean liner - Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas - each year for a Buckeye splash that is totally unique. Entertainment and activities include live music (The Swon Brothers; finalists last year on "The Voice"), comedy and magic acts, game shows, contests, auctions, autograph sessions and simply hanging out with as many as 30 former Buckeye greats. Plus Brutus, alumni cheerleaders and the alumni band always have a presence on deck.
Herbstreit is one of numerous former stars who have been on all seven cruises, and the ship is always filled with the greats from Ohio State, including this year James Laurinaitis, Malcolm Jenkins, Mike Brewster, Jake Ballard, Bobby Carpenter, Dustin Fox, Tom Cousineau, Craig Krenzel, Anthony Schlegel, William White, Robert Smith, Bob Brudzinski, Todd Boeckman, Justin Zwick and Dane Sanzenbacher, and from the hardwood, Scoonie Penn and J.J. Sullinger. And two new to the cruise this year: captains John Simon and Zach Boren from the undefeated 2012 team.
The stars on the cruise aren't just from athletics, either. A handful of doctors from The James are typically on board, including this year, Dr. Michael A. Galigiuri, MD, the director of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Hawk, honored with a highlight video on the cruise for becoming the Green Bay Packers' all-time leading tackler, has said he likes being part of such a good cause.
"We're helping people out," Hawk, one of the many NFL Buckeyes who have been on multiple cruises, has said previously about the cruises. "All 2,500 people on this cruise are helping people out for many years to come by coming on this cruise and by donating money and donating time."
Griffin, also honored with a video on this cruise for being named the Rose Bowl's All-Century Player, has previously recognized those on board with words from his coach: Woody Hayes.
"You're paying forward. And I have got to tell you: I think that is very, very special. I really do."
Dates for the 2015 Buckeye Cruise for Cancer are expected to be announced in late March.