The Swistak family has created the Dr. Stephen Swistak Memorial Fund in Stephen's honor in order to continue his legacy, support other student-athletes with similar aspirations and values, and advance esophageal cancer research and awareness.
Steve was an MSU alumnus, former MSU varsity hockey player (2000-2004) and a 2008 MSU-College of Human Medicine graduate. He went on to complete a general surgery residency at St. John Medical Center in Detroit and then a colorectal surgery fellowship at LSU-Shreveport. He had just started his job as an attending colorectal surgeon at Detroit Medical Center before being diagnosed with recurrent esophageal cancer which had spread to other areas of his body. He passed away June 11, 2015. He had recently gotten married, and his newborn daughter was only 1 month old at the time.
We continue to grieve his passing, however we are committed to using that emotion & energy in a positive way. Steve's passion was helping others and making a difference. Our goal is to continue that mission.
Over the past several years, our efforts have evolved to help in various ways:
1) Raising money to establish the Stephen Swistak Memorial Endowment Scholarship at Michigan State University - awarded to a hockey player who embodies what Steve stood for - hard work, dedication, teamwork & grit.
2) Supporting the Munn Arena Renovation Project at MSU - improving the facility for dedicated student-athletes as they pursue their athletic & academic goals. The new Team Physician office will be dedicated in Steve's name.
3) Supporting the Esophageal Cancer Action Network (ECAN), a cause that was near and dear to Steve's heart, which works to promote awareness & research into EC. Steve worked with them while going through chemotherapy and battling the disease.
4) Partnering with The Rainbow Connection - working to grant wishes for Michigan children with life-threatening medical conditions. We plan to grant the wishes of at least 2 families each year.
"Chop Wood. Carry Water." - Zen saying