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 2017.Click here to see more champions from years past!
Robert Lipsyte, a long-time sports reporter and columnist for the New York Times and the author of more than twenty books, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary in 1992 and won Columbia University’s Meyer Berger Award for Distinguished Reporting in 1966 and 1996. He was the Ombudsman for ESPN in 2013-2014.His books include the recent memoir, “An Accidental Sportswriter,” “SportsWorld: An American Dreamland,” and Dick Gregory’s autobiography, “Nigger.”In 2001, he won the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for lifetime contribution to Young Adult Literature. His best-selling teen-age novels include “The Contender” and “One Fat Summer.” Lipsyte’s television career includes CBS’ Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt; the NBC Nightly News; the weekly PBS show, “Life (Part2),” and the nightly public affairs show, “The Eleventh Hour,” for which he won an Emmy Award as host.
Doug Hotvedt grew up in the Washington DC area and attended Williams College for his undergraduate degree. He then attended the New York University School of Medicine, and completed his residency at the University of Minnesota. He has practiced Internal Medicine in Bloomington, Minnesota since 1991. He is married to rheumatologist, Ellen Shammash. They have 3 daughters, Sarah, Amanda, and Rachel. Rachel is a current sophomore here, at Wake Forest. His story begins in the fall of 2016, when he began to lose weight. Being the avid runner and athlete that he was, his patients felt that he was running too much and advised him to eat more. He started to have trouble swallowing around the same time. He says that he blamed it on possible scar tissue that might have developed from esophagus research that he did back in high school. Even though he says that he should have seen a doctor right away, he didn't. He weighed 141 pounds at the time. Finally, he had a formal workup in December 2016 from one of his medical colleagues, which showed a large tumor in his esophagus. In addition, the tumor had spread to multiple lymph nodes, the liver, and both lungs. He was given 3 months to live, and hasn’t been able to practice medicine since. Immediately, he started low dose chemotherapy in January 2017 (in hopes to provide some extra time). After just three weeks he says that he was able to eat a whole pizza without even stopping for a sip of water. A repeat endoscopy showed that the esophagus tumor had disappeared. It was time to start real chemotherapy; the tough stuff. He is still here with us, 14 months later. The lung metastases have disappeared. Everything is starting to look good, even though the cancer cells have not completely disappeared -- which is why he hasn’t stopped treatment (yet!). Currently he is on a combination of medicine’s. This "cocktail" of both chemotherapy and immunotherapy is for 3 days at a time, every 21 days. He now weighs 165 pounds and can swallow without any trouble at all. He is planning on winning this battle! He says that even though it sounds cliche, a smile and a positive attitude can be the best medicine sometimes.
Laura lives in Winston-Salem, NC with her husband Harold, both of whom are graduates of the Wake Forest MBA program. Laura and Harold are parents to 24-year-old Emily and 22-year-old Thomas. For the last 29 years she has worked selling insurance for Southeastern Underwrites, a company out of Richmond, VA. In her spare time Laura is very busy helping out at her church, Mount Tabor United Methodist, where she currently serves as co-president of the United Methodist Women, co-chair of the Angel Tree program, and volunteers in the church kitchen weekly. Laura also serves as the co-marketing Director for the local office of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Laura became involved with Race for the Cure in 2013 after her mother battled cancer for seven years and won! Two days after the Race in September of 2015, Laura had her annual mammogram which led her to the discovery on October 26, 2015 that at 52, she had LCIS, the more aggressive form of Breast Cancer, consisting of one large tumor and two smaller ones in her left breast. Laura was immediately eager to learn all about what was happening and what the options were, as she didn’t want to miss out on the great things life ahead had to offer. On 12/9/2015, Laura had a double mastectomy followed by immediate reconstruction. During the mastectomy, they concluded that the cancer had only spread to one node and only a few bad cells were found. In consideration with the types of tumors Laura had, this meant that no chemo was needed, but that Laura would end up needing 36 radiation treatments. She made it through this process, her skin healed from the radiation treatments, and she walked away with the conviction that you really need to stay as positive as you can through the tough times. Laura attributes her success to the support of her family, church ladies and friends, and her faith! Two years later, Laura is a survivor and is back doing everything she did pre-cancer. Laura often says that if she “can help even one person realize that they can walk this journey and come out on the other side with a new outlook on life,” than she will keep spreading her story!
Laura McKenna is excited to participate in Wake ‘N Shake the same weekend she is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Gamma Kappa Chapter of Tri Delta at Wake Forest. Laura is proud to be one of the founding members of this chapter. Laura lives in Alpharetta, Georgia with her husband, Matt. Laura is mother to son, Charlie Daniel, who is a sophomore at Duke and daughter Grace who is a freshman at St. Francis High School. Since graduating from Wake in 1990, Laura has had a front row seat to cancer two times. She lost her first husband, Pete Daniel, in 2000 to brain cancer. This past September she was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer and underwent surgery and radiation. Laura has seen in both cases the importance of research dollars. Pete was given 6 months to live, but lived 14 months due to the experimental treatment he received at Duke. Laura’s breast cancer did not even show up on a mammogram, but was diagnosed through ultrasound and an MRI. Fortunately, the breast cancer was found very early, the treatment went smoothly and the prognosis is excellent. Putting her trust in God through Jesus Christ has been the most important part of both battles with cancer, in addition to wonderful doctors, and loving family & friends. Laura is extremely involved in Women’s Community Bible Study at Peachtree Presbyterian Church as well as being an active volunteer with The National Charity League and her children’s schools.
Grace Franzese was born in New York, New York, and though she would grow up in a smaller town on Long Island, this is where she would be return to be diagnosed and treated years later. Grace was in sixth grade when she started complaining about a pain in her left leg, right above her knee. Because this is pretty typical for an average eleven year old, no one took this that seriously, including herself. However, after it didn't go away for a few months, her mom took her to see her pediatrician, who immediately sent her to see an x-ray. The very next day she was in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer. The Monday after that she was in surgery, and the Monday after that she started her first of many days of chemo. Grace was diagnosed with osteosarcoma weeks before her twelfth birthday, and for almost a year would spend nearly every day in a hospital bed, going through three different chemos, two mediports, and two major surgeries. For a while after things were fine, and Grace caught back up in school and physical therapy learning to walk again. However, less than a year later, Grace had a set of scans that showed she had relapsed, and the cycles started over again. Another mediport, two more chemos, and two more major surgeries later, Grace finished her second year of treatment right before Christmas. In the time since, Grace has graduated high school and come to Wake Forest University, where she joined the Lilting Banshees, Tri Delta, the mass of unsure pre-meds, and found a community more wonderful than she could have imagined. Over winter break, Grace received clean scans, marking her as five years clean and officially cured. Grace has come a long way from 15% odds, and is incredibly honored to be able to support the cause to change more stories like hers in any way she can. Find her sitting in Tribble courtyard pretty much any day of the week, and she'd be happy to share her experience and her story, and why Wake n' Shake is such an important part in it going forward. Thank you to all who have given their time and their support, the fight could not go on without you!
Melody Hayes is the daughter of Marjorie Patterson of Elkin and the late Joseph Patterson of Morganton. She is the wife of Pastor Alvin Hayes of St Home Missionary Baptist Church in Elkin, NC. Melody has three daughters and one son which are Makisha (Ronald) Burns of Winston-Salem, Danielle Wilson, Ieshia Propst, and Alton Propst all of Elkin. Elkin Elementary School has been a place where Melody has dedicated much of her life assisting in the education of children from Pre k to 5th grade. She has left an indelible mark upon the lives of so many who have walked the halls of Elkin. Elementary. It is no surprise, to anyone who knows her that Melody has the spirit of a lion! She was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in October 1998 and through God and the prayers of her family and friends, she fought CANcer and June 1999 her CANcer went into remission. It was during that time she was blessed with her first grandchild Anthony Propst and over the years many additions came along. Pastor Paw Paw and Melody stand at the grand total of 11 grandchildren.....and counting! One thing is certain, Melody loves the Lord and her fight with breast CANcer truly solidified God’s love for her! It was through her challenges she was able to share not only her story of survival but also her faith and how it played a pivotal role in her fight. Her faith would be challenged again in May 2015, when she found herself in a dark place after being diagnosed with esophageal CANcer. There were so many uncertainties but Melody held on to the promise……..“God’s Got It”. When the physicians did not know the outcome nor the possibilities of her Savior’s mighty hand she relied on the voice of God. God knew what was in store and reassured her: one of the things that renewed her strength was knowing that “God's Got It”! She walked in courage and expectancy that despite the diagnosis God was greater than her adversity! She walked in faith knowing that God would never leave her. After 26 days in Baptist Hospital, from ICU to a private room and back to ICU within hours God revealed that even in her darkest moments that HE WAS GOD AND GOD'S GOT IT! Currently, Melody is cancer free and working to regain 100% of her physical strength. Due to her physical set back she was led to an early leave from working and working with the children of Elkin Elementary School. Melody is a fighter, an overcomer, and the daughter of the true and living King of King! If there was one thing Melody hopes everyone will learn from her life, it is that God's Got It! When everything else seems to be hopeless, God will renew your strength showing God's endless grace and mercy!
Manuel is from Moorefield, North Carolina which is between Raleigh Durham and Chapel Hill. He has worked for UNC for the past 18 years and currently serves as the Director of IT for the School of Social Work. He is the father of two amazing children, Diana and Manuel, who now live in Atlanta and Florida respectively. In his free time, he loves to visit and eat pizza with his five grandkids aged between five and 34! Diana was instrumental in his journey through lung cancer. From day one she took care of him, researched the cancer and possible places to be treated. Manuel fell in love with Wake Forest Baptist in his first interview and has never looked back. As a Carolina Tarheel, he was slightly bias but has been overwhelmed by the kindness and love that every nurse, lab technician, and doctor has shown him throughout his journey. Even though his first set of treatment, which consisted of Chemo and Radiation, only lead to him being cancer free for a couple of months, he is very hopeful about the experimental study his is participating in now. He is the longest person to stay in the study, and in July he will complete the full two-year treatment. The doctors hope and expect that upon completion, he will not need any more medical treatment. Manuel is hopeful and feeling stronger than ever. In July, Manuel is planning to do a second trip to Spain where he will walk the 500-mile trail called “the Way” between Northeastern and Northwestern Spain.
Helen King currently lives in Charlotte with Austin and Blake her twin sons. She also has two furry babies that go by the names of Major and Colt. This weekend she is celebrating the 30thanniversary of the Gamma Kappa Chapter of Tri Delta at Wake Forest, so she will be talking on the Tri Delta Team. Helen is a political science professor at Central Piedmont Community College. She is also currently completing her PhD work at the University of South Carolina. In February of 2017, Helen was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. She underwent 6 rounds of chemo and a double mastectomy with reconstruction. She completes her 18th and last round of Herceptin in March. She still has a port in her chest but she is currently considered “cancer free” and her prognosis is good!
Lisa Rhoades has two daughters and is a 20 year breast cancer survivor. She currently works as BB&T senior VP and Director of Marketing Strategy. She served as president of the board at Komen for the Cure previously and is now a board chair.