NEWPORT MAN HELPS OTHERS WITH CANCER
By David Ball
Pleasants County Leader
April 27, 1991
Cancer patient Robert Holpp helps other victims of the disease in order to help
But because of his kindness toward others, the Newport 60-year-old will receive
the Ohio Courage Award from the American Cancer Society April 29, in
Columbus. Gov. George Voinovich will give the award to Holpp, who has
helped needy people by operating the Newport Food Pantry.
When they called me up about it, I told them at first, “I don’t think so,” Holpp
said of receiving the award. “The things I do helping cancer patients and
everyone is what helps me handle cancer.”
The award is given to an individual who has shown unusual courage, according to
Jan Stine, executive director of the Marietta unit of the American Cancer
“It gives you a real good feeling,” Holpp said of the award. “That tells
me I’m doing the right thing and (to) keep on doing it.”
Holpp’s story of courage began when he was diagnosed as having breast cancer in
1981, a rarity in men. After surgery and chemotherapy, Holpp’s disease
went into remission. But while in the hospital, former cancer patients
came and talked to Holpp.
“He continued to work in the community, even though his life was threatened,”
Holpp again was diagnosed with bone cancer in 1989, this time in his spine and
both rib cages. He can no longer lift objects, so his food pantry work
has been curtailed. He has undergone six months of chemotherapy and now
is taking medication.
After his first bout with cancer, Holpp became a participant in the “I Can
Cope” program, which helps cancer patients deal with the disease. He and
his wife, Sue, became weekly volunteers at the American Cancer Society office
“I’m a giving person, and it makes me feel good about myself if I can help
someone else,” Holpp said.
Stine said Holpp also has been called upon by doctors to talk with other cancer
“His down-to-earth manner and attitude make it easy for people to talk to him,”
she said. “He has truly been an inspiration to others. He teaches
us all, including the facilitator of our “I Can Cope” and Pioneer Cancer Support
groups, that a positive attitude and helping others are important parts of
Because he has been unable to return to work now that he is considered
disabled, he spends his time in other ways, such as operating the Newport Food
Pantry, helping needy people with household goods and food.
He said he tries to have fun and laugh, regardless of how bad the situation
“Everyone in Newport knows Bob and how he is fighting cancer personally, and
that he is an advocate for them if they need one,” Stine said. “He is
very shy and doesn’t feel that he deserves the awards that he has been given.”
Those awards have included “Man of the Year” from the local Salvation Army.
“Bob has been truly an inspiration to everyone who knows him,” Stine said, “and
they all have a deep appreciation for his service to others and respect for his
willingness to help, even when he is ill himself.”
The local unit never has nominated anyone for the award before, Stine said.
“I guess we did this year because he was dealing with a reoccurrence, and he
was still interested in serving the community,” she said.
Now, Holpp looks at his disease optimistically.
“If I hadn’t been a cancer patient, I wouldn’t have gotten to meet all these
people,” he said. He also wouldn’t have started the food pantry, he said.
“I feel that God had things for me to do, and this is the only way for me to do
-Extracted from "Footprints"