Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship News: First Shot to Fight Cancer details

By Mariana Smith




Columbus, Ohio – Tournament Officials of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship  details for the 17th annual ceremonial first tee shot, named First Shot to Fight Cancer. The shot will mark the beginning of tournament competition for the 2023 official Korn Ferry Tour event at The Ohio State University Golf Club—Scarlet Course. The First Shot to Fight Cancer ceremony will begin at 7:05 a.m. on Thursday, September 21, immediately prior to the tournament’s first starting time. Professional tee times for Thursday and Friday start at 7:20 a.m. on tee Nos. 1 and 10.

Hitting the First Shot to Fight Cancer at the 2023 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship will be 16-year-old “Patient Champion,” Reid Zupanc of Delaware, Ohio.

In autumn of 2011, four-year old Reid was excused from school for a routine visit with his ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist. As he prepared to have a second set of ear tubes placed in both eardrums, his mom, Lani, noticed an unusual bump on the top of Reid’s head. Although small, it was still a cause for concern. Lani informed the ENT specialist that she had told their pediatrician about the unusual bump months ago. The pediatrician had assured her it was a fatty cyst that would go away with time. To be certain, the ENT decided to schedule a surgery to remove the cyst and have it tested by pathology.

“A month later, the doctor called to tell us that the bump was benign,” says Lani. “We were so relieved!”

A few months after receiving the benign diagnosis, the bump reappeared on both ends of the incision. Five months later, several bumps appeared in different areas on Reid’s head. The bumps were retested by a different doctor. The results showed the bumps were not at all benign; they were tumors. Reid was diagnosed with a vascular cancer called Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma in August 2011. This rare cancer affects the lining of the blood vessels in the liver and lungs. Reid’s cancer was even more rare due to the area of its initial growth. Reid immediately began treatment at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He endured six months of chemotherapy and more than 15 surgeries, including: tumor and lymph node removals, a skin graft, and a lung biopsy.

Reid has remained positive and “full of life” throughout his fight with cancer. Today, Reid is stable and follows up with his oncologist every few months to monitor his health. He is currently in his junior year of high school and is taking college courses. After graduation, he plans to study Neuropathology at the University of London.