The compelling story of her battle with breast cancer led to Wendy Ward of Hilliard being named the first-ever “Most Courageous Mom Survivor.” The award was given by Komen Columbus in partnership with Latitude 41, The Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel and The Charles Penzone Salons.
The honor comes with a day of pampering including a spa package from Charles Penzone, dinner at Latitude 41, and a one-night stay at The Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel the night before the May 14th Race for the Cure.
“We were overwhelmed with the amazing nominations we received. Every survivor is undoubtedly courageous, so it was a very hard decision to make,” said Katie Carter, executive director of Komen Columbus. “This award provided us another great platform to honor our survivors. The biggest platform, of course, will come on Race Day when there will be 2,500-plus survivors all together in downtown Columbus.”
Wendy was nominated by her friend, Emily Harrison, who said “Wendy is good at having cancer because she is the epitome of how I’d hope I would respond if I were ever given that devastating news.”
Wendy was diagnosed with aggressive stage three breast cancer last June and has undergone eight intensive rounds of chemotherapy, a mastectomy, radiation, and is planning surgery to remove her other breast and have reconstruction surgery at the same time.
Wendy is the mother of a two-year-old son, Jack and a five-year-old daughter, Caroline, and at one of her first doctor’s visits after the diagnosis, Wendy got out a picture of them and told her doctor that they were the reason she was fighting. Wendy’s nomination included a story about how Wendy taught her husband, Chris, to braid Caroline’s hair so she could be assured that if the worst were to happen, Caroline would always have her hair done. Wendy and several of her friends and family will be walking in the Komen Race for the Cure with the group name “Wendy’s Warriors.”
The award was developed by The Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, the exclusive hotel sponsor of Komen Columbus Race for the Cure, as a way to give back to the event and touch at least one survivor’s life.
“It was important for us to show our support for this great cause and help bring attention to how courageous these survivors are,” said Geri Lombard, general manager of the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel. “Our staff has been tireless in their community service efforts and we have supported the Komen Columbus Race for the Cure for many years and we thought the ‘Most Courageous Mom Award’ seemed like a fitting tribute.”