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Something for Stephen

UT cancer fellowship channels loss into live-saving cancer research

Maryville assistant Landon Coleman
Landon Coleman passes a photograph of his older brother, Stephen, every workday morning.

It’s there on the wall to the right of office manager Angie Hayworth’s desk.

Stephen is smiling.

An assistant baseball coach at Maryville High School and co-owner/vice president of Anderson Lumber Co., Landon lost Stephen to brain cancer five years ago. He was 37.

The hurt reaches deep.

“I was angry for I don’t how long,” Landon said. “‘Why this?’”

It’s impossible not to get drawn into the photograph of Stephen, the smile in particular. It’s speaks to what his kid brother has done with the pain of his loss. It’s a story of hope and giving that shames words.

The Coleman family, which includes dad, Steve, mom, Brenda, and Steve’s older brother, James, staged the fifth annual Stephen Y. Coleman Memorial Golf Outing last Thursday at Egwani Farms Golf Course in Alcoa.

Proceeds from the “Campaign for Hope” event go to fund the Stephen Y. Coleman Medical Oncology Fellowship at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

“When fully funded, they want to have a doctor come in and do cancer research,” Steve Coleman said, “all types of cancer, not just …

"I feel great about it if it can help anybody.”

A record 260 participants attended this year’s event. It does a lot for so many to think so highly of her son, Brenda Coleman said.

“It just fills my heart the people returning to remember Stephen,” she said. “You can’t fill the void that’s left, but, because of the fellowship, you can try to help others who’re going through what Stephen went through.”

The idea for the fellowship was first voiced by James Coleman, a doctor. UT physician John Bell did a great deal to help get things rolling, Brenda Coleman said. To help with funding, Landon launched the golf tournament.

To see the numbers only grow each year means so much, Landon said.

“Once you’ve seen (someone battling cancer), or seen someone go through it, you want to do whatever you can to help others,” he said.

As Brenda Coleman made mention, the pain of Stephen’s loss will always be there. The only way forward, Steve said, is to do what you can for others who could one day confront the same hurt. Ten, 20 years from now, Stephen York Coleman’s life will be a blessing beyond measure.

“We’ve got strong faith in the Lord,” Steve Coleman said, “and we know we’ll see Stephen again. What keeps us going is we know he’s up there looking down on us trying to do good things.”

And smiling.

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