In 2011, for the first time in Wake ‘N Shake history, we added a “Team Champion” to each team. The Team Champion is an individual who has fought or is currently fighting cancer. At the event, they inspire dancers with their courage and strength as they speak about their battles with cancer. This page contains the list of the champions for Wake 'N Shake 2019.Click here to see more champions from years past!
My name is Mimi Gallagher and I am a 7 year survivor of late stage ovarian cancer. To my complete surprise, I was diagnosed in 2012. I immediately underwent a difficult, yet very successful, 11 hour surgery to remove all of the cancer. 5 months of grueling chemotherapy followed. During the chemo, I lost all of my hair and was very sick. I completed my last treatment on 12/12/12….now my lucky number! The ovarian cancer survival statistics are very grim: 70 percent of late stage patients die within the first 5 years. This is in large part due to the fact that there are still no screening tools to find the cancer in its earliest stages. As a result, most women are diagnosed at a late stage when the cancer has spread. It is also a cancer that has a high recurrence rate, which often makes long term survival even harder to achieve. I am so grateful to live in the Boston area despite how much I hate the cold weather! Some of the best physicians and medical facilities are right in my backyard. As a result, I was, and still am, cared for by an amazing team of doctors. One thing cancer has taught me is to soak up all the joy life has to offer in both big and small ways. Long walks with the dogs on a sunny day. Vacationing on Hilton Head and Nantucket. Family dinners on the screened porch Although the journey from diagnosis, through treatment to health has been difficult, I can honestly say I am the luckiest of the unlucky!
I'm a mom, a wife, and a singer. We're also new, pizza shop owners and I'm launching a bra line this year. So there's not much time for anything extra :). We are huge sports fans, so any free time is watching sports (or going to games in Philly when I sing the anthem) and of course spend as much time with our daughter, who is 10 years old. I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at age 16. I underwent surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. I was cancer free for 11 years and the cancer returned. I underwent chemotherapy and was cancer free for another 9 years. in 2009, the cancer returned and I had aggressive chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. I have been cancer free ever since! Fun facts.. let's see.... I'm a singer and that has allowed me to sing all over the world. I'm proud to have sung at the White House for President and Mrs. Bush, but my greatest thrill was to sing for Jeff & Tina Lurie's dinner (Philadelphia Eagles' owner) the night before Super Bowl 52. We won, by the way:). Little known tidbit...I didn't know until after the fact, but I was considered to replace PINK for the national anthem had she not been able to perform for the Super Bowl.
Chris Boulton was born in New York City before moving to Chicago. In middle school, he moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Chris attended UNC Chapel Hill where studied Business and worked in the athletic department. In the summer of college, Chris worked at Disney World as a steamboat captain and briefly dated one of the seven dwarfs. After college, he worked at NBC, helping with shows like Saturday Night Live, the Olympics, and the Super Bowl. He and his wife, Susan, moved back to Chapel Hill where they had three children – Allie, Tyler, and Kat. Chris currently works in the legal division at SAS Institute and his Tar Heel wife works at the Duke Cancer Institute. Allie and Tyler live and work in Durham, NC and Kat is a Junior at Wake. In 2017, Chris was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Last summer, Chris had surgery to remove the cancer and shows no signs of recurrence. Since then, Chris has enjoyed spending time on his sailboat and walking with his golden retriever, Rooney, and pug, Pug.
The type of cancer I had was Breast Cancer, it was discovered during a routine mammogram when I was 45. There are no cancer risks in my family, so, I was not at all concerned when I was called back for a second look and then a biopsy. When we received the diagnosis, it truly shocked us both. I received a bilateral mastectomy on October 19, 2011. I have had at least 6 operations to reconstruct what cancer took away. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it, and the way it has affected my family. I am an athlete, fitness trainer, Cyclebar Instructor, 2nd grade teacher, mommy to two wild teens and a wife to Chan, who I like to call Big Daddy. I have tried not to let this experience take away from the things I love to do, such as exercise and be strong, I have just had to learn different ways to do it. I live in Greenville, SC.
I am a North Carolina native, born in Burlington, NC. My initial professional training was in pharmacy. I received a BS and MS in pharmacy (there was no Pharm D program way back then). While teaching at UNC and working as a Clinical Pharmacist for the Nephrology service, my interests expanded beyond my job description, so I went back to Medical School at UNC for Internal Medicine training, I then completed a 3 year Fellowship at Duke in Nephrology and Hypertension. I have practiced with Carolina Kidney Associates in Greensboro, NC since 1991 and am looking forward to retirement from full time practice this year. My journey with breast cancer started in 2003 (at a time when my daughter was 13 and her Dad had just died the year before). I underwent mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. I was initially told I had a 50-50 change of being alive in 5 years. It was an incredibly difficult time for us. Well, I am currently 16 years beyond that diagnosis a long time though, at a very personal level, I was paralyzed by the overwhelming fear of recurrence. You could say I was alive, but not really living. About 10 years ago I had an “aha” moment, and I recognized that I needed to start really living. I lived to celebrate my daughter’s high school and college graduations, and her wedding to her wonderful husband Jonathan. She and I went to the summer Olympics in Beijing. I have flown in a helicopter, zip lined in Alaska, ice skated on Lake Louise, driven a snowmobile in the mountains of Golden BC, and most importantly rekindled my lifelong love for horses. The barn has become my "happy place", and is where I have had the privilege of meeting and riding with McGee Bosworth who asked me to be a Champion this year. Every year I get a tattoo hash mark (I have 16 now) on my right arm to celebrate those years beyond a diagnosis of cancer, and to remind me how important it is to live every single minute of the life I have been given. In addition, being on the receiving end of medical treatment for a life threatening illness clearly made me a better doctor, a much more empathetic provider to my patients, all of whom have life changing if not life threatening problems. One of my favorite quotes “live well - love life - and do all things with kindness.”
Kila Tripp is from Cincinnati, Ohio and is a senior at Wake Forest University studying Politics and Economics. On January 3rd 2012, as a freshman in high school, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells. She and her family knew something was wrong when she fainted playing tennis over Christmas break. Her cancer had an Ikaros mutation which had only been discovered five years prior to her diagnosis. Following her diagnosis, she underwent nine chemotherapy drugs, countless medications to mitigate side effects, as well as radiation treatment for 2.5 years. All of these treatments were made possible through cancer research. This April she will be celebrating five years of being cancer free. Her cancer experience and her grandmother’s battle with cancer has motivated Kila to be very involved with Wake ‘N Shake while at Wake Forest. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her friends and family and traveling. From her own cancer journey, Kila has seen the positive impact from cancer research. She hopes that by raising money for the Brian Piccolo Cancer Research Fun the threat of cancer can be eliminated and more birthdays can be celebrated. She is excited for her last time dancing at Wake ‘N Shake before she graduates and moves to Washington, D.C.
Karly Billips is from Greensboro, North Carolina and is a Senior at Northwest Guilford High school. She has been accepted and will be attending Appalachian State University in the Fall of 2020 after taking a gap year to work with an African Childrens choir from Uganda. On June 18th 2018, she was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of your lymphatic system, at 17 years of age. Karly began treatment on July 16th 2018 which would consist of 6 different types of chemo along with many other medications that would bring harsh side affects. Throughout her treatments Karly had many complications and underwent 2 blood infections and a port infection delaying her treatments. She finally finished and rang the bell on October 15th of 2018. Karly has just celebrated 6 months free of treatment and is thankful for each and every day. She truly believes that her journey would not have been made possible if it weren’t for the faith she has, the faith of her family, and the faithfulness of her church. During her journey Karly’s community supported her and her family constantly. Through her treatment she has realized the overwhelming importance of cancer research and has a new desire to help to raise money for support of research so that other kids will not have to go through the extensive journey that cancer encompasses. She desires to be part of Wake and Shake so that more people can be encouraged and see first hand affects of their efforts.
Rusty is from Morganton, North Carolina. The type of cancer he had was lymphoma, which means it attacked his bone marrow and stem cells, affecting his entire body rather than just one or two organs. In many ways he believes this was fortunate in that he didn't have to undergo radiation to a specific spot on his body, but he did have to endure massive amounts of chemo. Even then, in order to eradicate the cancerous cells from inside him, his doctor essentially had to kill all of his white blood cells and keep him in isolation for 28 days as she harvested new ones from him, grew them more in a clean lab, then replanted them intravenously back into him, which is what a "stem cell/bone marrow" transplant is all about. He says though it was a nauseating experience, his system is essentially almost 4 years old, like a partially rebuilt engine in a car, and he still free and clear of the disease! Rusty doesn’t consider himself a champion or hero. Rather, he sees life as having to play the cards you’re dealt. Due to the absolutely amazing science and technology out there and available to his doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, he is alive today. They, therefore, and by extension the entire medical community are the heros.