Wake ‘N Shake honors individuals in our community who either have battled or who are currently battling cancer each year. Each individual is assigned to one of the eight teams to serve as a “Champion”. At the event, they inspire dancers with their courage and strength as they speak about their journey with cancer. We are excited and honored to introduce to you the Champions for Wake ‘N Shake 2020.Click here to see more champions from years past!
Phillip Yurchenko is a senior BEM major from San Francisco, California. He enjoys photography, traveling, and hanging out with friends. Phillip was diagnosed with a metastatic brain tumor his sophomore year of high school. Quickly after the diagnosis, he had brain and back surgery. Because the cancer had spread from his brain to his spine, the doctors had difficulty removing the tumors, pushing Philip into a year of weekly chemotherapy (4 weeks on, 2 weeks off). The treatment stopped the tumors from growing but did not shrink them. Now, Phillip returns to have MRIs taken every six months to check on them.
Hello, my name is Kent Gitter. I’m Tilson Gitter’s father. She is the oldest of our three children. She has younger brother who is a freshman in high school, and a younger sister Ellie who will be joining Tilson and you at WFU next fall.I live in Durham NC, and work with Baker Roofing in Raleigh. I manage two departments. One that builds Green Roofs, and the other that restores and repairs aging and leaking buildings. I was born in Winston-Salem and graduated from Reynolds Highs School not far from here. I used to live in walking distance to campus and was a season ticket holder to WFU football and basketball. I also used to spend a lot of time with my friends playing football on the campus practice fields. On New Year’s Eve of 2015 I was told that a lump that I had noticed on my inner thigh was a moderately aggressive lipo sarcoma, a malignant cancer that targets fatty tissues. I was treated with a month of radiation and in April of 2016 surgery removed the area from my leg. Upon several follow up visits and scans I am relieved and thankful to say that I am cancer free.
My name is Sarah McAuley and I am a wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and dog lover who was diagnosed with breast cancer nine and a half years ago. I live right here in Winston-Salem and work at an independent school near Wake Forest and tutor high school kids in the evenings. Walking my Puggle, hiking, traveling to the Tetons, and enjoying football games at my daughters’ colleges are some of my favorite things to do. In the fall of 2010, after having a clear mammogram 10 days prior, I felt a lump, rushed to my doctor, received many tests, and finally received confirmation that I was beginning a battle I never dreamed I would fight. After five surgeries, eight rounds of chemotherapy, 33 rounds of radiation, efforts from fabulous doctors and nurses, support from countless friends and family members, and soul-lifting love from my husband and daughters, I won my battle and was forever changed. The biggest lessons I learned while fighting cancer is to not sweat the small stuff, love your loved ones big, be genuine, and leave your little corner of the world better than you found it.
Andy Tuttle is the Director of Students and Family Ministries at Mount Tabor UMC in Winston Salem. He and his wife Kim have four children—Tyler (21), Taylor (21), Caleb (18), and Christian (10). He also has two black lab mix dogs, Rascal and Oreo. Andy is a class of 2000 graduate of the University of North Carolina in Greensboro with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in Marketing. During his time in college, Andy felt the call to build the church and not a business. His heart for teens connects to his call to go into ministry. Andy brings a multitude of experience in youth ministry(over 20 years) and a heart for serving youth, the church, and the community. Andy has an interest in small group ministry and helping youth feel connected with and integrated into the church. A believer in local missions, Andy also strives to serve the local community through partnering with schools, nursing home visits, and service to the homeless. Andy also shares the vision of growing leaders within the church’s youth program. He loves the lake, to travel with friends and family, and play games. Andy is also a cancer survivor. In May of 2015 he was diagnosed with a rare cancer attacking his brain stem called a chondrosarcoma. Andy underwent major surgery at Duke hospital removing the tumor. He had a two month rough road of recovery followed with a sixth nerve palsey and an eye patch. He found himself fully dependent on others to help with the simplest of tasks. Then Andy was sent to Mass General Hospital in Boston, MA for two months of proton radiation therapy. He returned home to NC with clear scans. Andy has regular visits with a Wake Forest Baptist Endocrinologist and is still Cancer Free.
Hi, my name is Lisa LaRoque. I was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in June 2018. I had a double mastectomy and radiation, followed by hormone therapy. I was declared cancer-free in December 2018 following the completion of 28 rounds of radiation. I live in Sandy Springs, GA with my husband Kent. Together we have 6 children, 5 daughters, and 1 son, and we have 5 granddaughters with #6 arriving in July. Additionally, we have a new Golden Retriever puppy, Sammy. Today, I love to take Zumba, exercise, golf, swim, garden and read. Most importantly, I’m in love with Jesus and enjoy leading a guest services team at our church, North Point Community Church.
Despite there being no history of the disease in his immediate family, and despite working out every day for more than 50 years, Jim Calhoun has had multiple battles with cancer - prostate, head and neck (squamous cell carcinoma), lung, and stomach. Today he is proud to be cancer-free today! In his free time, he likes to spend time with his family, play golf, read books and watch Broadway plays. He has 2 granddaughters at Wake Forest and has won more than 900 college basketball games!
Born in Queens, N.Y., Angel and his three siblings moved to Greensboro with their mother, Shellbe in pursuit of a quieter environment. Just a little while after moving down south, the normally energetic Angel began suffering from fevers, complained of pains in his feet, and there were strange “bumps” on his body. Shellbe originally thought they were mosquito bites. In October of 2017, doctors at Brenner diagnosed Angel with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Angel completed his treatment and has been declared no evidence of disease! Back to his energetic ways, Angel loves to play basketball and follow his favorite stars.
EmmaLee, nicknamed Emmo, was diagnosed with B-Precursor Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on January 17, 2015 at the age of twelve. She lives in Dallas, GA and works at Publix. She is currently in the eleventh grade, attending East Paulding High School. Some of her hobbies are cooking/baking, traveling (especially cruising), reading, driving, racing-Chase Elliot, and spending time with friends.