March 30, 1977 to June 13, 2010
Travis Branch was the inspiration behind the first Swing for a Cure tournament. Travis was an all-American boy, a friend to all, an excellent golfer, and a College of Charleston grad. Travis met the love of his life, Carrie, at the college and by spring of 2001 they were engaged. A year later, Travis was diagnosed with stage four nasopharyngeal carcinoma. He received radiation and chemotherapy for several months. In the midst of intense cancer treatment, Travis and Carrie married. Shortly after, the newlyweds found out the treatment was successful and Travis was cancer-free! They also had two boys together, Parker and Tyler.
In 2005, Travis was diagnosed with a different type of cancer, a rare sarcoma known as an hemangiopericytoma. Over the next five years, Travis had multiple surgeries, endured radiation, and flew around the country seeking treatment options. Despite his efforts, there was no miracle cure. In his final days, Travis sketched out his idea for a fundraising event on a napkin and shared it with his brother, Giles. Unfortunately, Travis’ vision of a charity fundraiser wasn’t realized in his lifetime. Travis passed in June 2010, shortly after his 33rd birthday.
April 4, 1978 to Jan. 17, 2015
Outgoing, passionate, and a great sense of humor - that described Eric Crawford. His engaging personality led to a successful sales career following his graduation from Lehigh University with an engineering degree. By 2004, Eric was engaged to Meredith, who he’d met on a college break trip to San Diego. The two moved to Charleston and were married on Kiawah Island the following year. They went on to have two children, Kaylee and Connor. When he wasn't spending time with his family, Eric loved playing baseball, surfing, or going offshore fishing.
In early 2014, Eric started having pain in his knee and the doctor discovered a tumor in his left thighbone. He was diagnosed with osteosarcoma and referred to Hollings Cancer Center. At that time, Hollings was home to one of only two orthopedic oncologists in the state. Eric immediately began chemotherapy, followed by reconstructive surgery, and then more chemo. In November, a scan revealed the chemo wasn’t working and the cancer had spread to his lungs. His leg pain returned and he started having trouble breathing, which sent him to the hospital. Eric passed away peacefully 11 days later, surrounded by his family and friends. He was only 36 years old.
May 26, 1947 to Nov. 20, 2015
In 2002, Roger and Karen Allen moved to Charleston with their daughter Anne-Taylor to grow the Great Clips franchise. They quickly developed close ties with the stylists and employees in their salons, as well as with members of their local community and the larger Great Clips family. Roger was successful and beloved for freely sharing both his business acumen and his charming smile. He enjoyed life by painting, sailing, walking, biking, and exploring new places in the family RV.
In 2011, Roger was diagnosed with spindle cell sarcoma. As he began treatments at Hollings Cancer Center, the Allen family experienced an outpouring of love and support from those around them, including the local and national Great Clips family. Throughout surgeries, clinical trials, and treatments, Roger bravely fought the tumors. Ultimately, the treatment didn’t work and Roger passed away on Nov. 20, 2015.
When Thom Schmenk went into retirement, he set a new fitness goal to ride his bike every day. Thom had always loved cycling, but now he had the time to really commit to it. So, when he discovered a lump on his inner thigh, he assumed it was simply a result of overworking his legs. He and his wife, Judy, were shocked into silence when his doctor informed them he had cancer. Thom was told he might lose his leg, and the doctor also hinted that he should get his affairs in order.
A meeting with Dr. Lee Leddy, an orthopedist at Hollings Cancer Center, changed the tone of his prognosis. Thom had a rare type of soft tissue sarcoma called leiomyosarcoma, but Dr. Leddy and his team had a plan, which included radiation and surgery. Soft tissue sarcomas can develop in muscle, fat, blood vessels or any of the other tissues that surround the organs of the body. Fortunately, Thom had the kind that was encapsulated in the muscle, which meant it was contained. On March 5, 2019, Thom celebrated five years of being cancer free! He is back on his bike and raising money for sarcoma research through Swing for a Cure. Three years before he was diagnosed, the treatment protocol that saved his life did not even exist. Thom is now committed to paying it forward and supporting the research and discovery of new sarcoma treatments.
As South Carolina’s only National Cancer Institute-designated center, the Medical University of South Carolina Hollings Cancer Center offers the most comprehensive cancer care in the state. Hollings has earned accreditation and recognition nationally in a variety of specialties, including melanoma, breast cancer, and oncology nursing. Hollings remains committed to early detection and community awareness through partnerships, outreach events, and a mobile-health screening unit. In addition, Hollings offers 190 clinical trials to provide the most innovative and groundbreaking treatment options for every patient.
MUSC Hollings Cancer Center