Chad's Champions - Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

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Chad’s Champions

Washington DC

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize Chad’s Champions as the MMRF Spirit of Hope Honoree at the 2017 MMRF Team for Cures: Washington DC 5K Walk/Run.

Chad’s Champions

Posted September 2017

Team Chad’s Champions is captained by Chad’s wife Audra O’Neil. This is the team’s third year participating in the Washington DC 5K. The team was named “Chad’s Champions” because Chad was a champion for all. During Chad’s 5 month battle with multiple myeloma, he and Audra did a lot research and found hope in Kathy Guisti and the MMRF’s commitment and contributions to research. Although this disease is not yet manageable for all, Chad was always hopeful that the progress the MMRF was making would benefit him and the many others who were struggling. Every new drug that was passed made him more and more hopeful for the future.

In 2015, Salm Spina a friend and coworker of Chad’s started a Facebook page called Chad’s Champions. She encouraged friends and coworkers to join the team. Many of Chad’s colleagues and friends at Marriott walked and ran in his honor. Friends and Family from New York, Maryland, Virginia, Vermont and even Texas came together to support Chad. In their first year participating, the team won the award for biggest team with over 71 members coming together on Race day. Last year, the team raced in memory of Chad.

Audra says,

“In 2016, the race was to all of us a commemoration of his life, his strength, his positive nature, the fight we still have in front of us, and the realization that we are not alone in this.”

Chad’s legacy and team continues to be celebrated past the Washington DC race. Coworker and friend Oliver Meinzer, created a conference room to honor Chad at Marriott headquarters after he passed away. In the room, they placed memories of Chad, state of the art AV equipment, and the past year’s MMRF shirt signed by all of the team members. Each year the new shirt will be signed and will be added to the wall.

Audra adds,

“All who ever met Chad saw him as a beacon of hope. Even in his discomfort, he was able to make others feel good and valued. Family and friends and all those whose lives he touched now look at life through a different lens, Chad’s lenses – with a zest for life and an appreciation for experiences.”

The MMRF works tirelessly to find a cure to extend the lives of patients and is proud to honor Chad’s Champions as the 2017 recipient of the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award. This award is given at every MMRF 5K Walk/Run event to a person or team who inspires hope and shows extraordinary commitment to the MMRF. Chad’s Champions have touched the myeloma community with their strength of character, their kindness, and their embodiment of hope.