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Positively Cincinnati: From breaking news to braking for cancer patients

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Posted at 7:02 PM, Oct 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-28 20:19:39-04

CINCINNATI — For 37 years, Chic Poppe, a former WCPO photographer, drove everywhere around the city to document the news. Now, he's driving for a different, more personal purpose.

"He is by far the most caring person I've ever met," said Stephanie Schum.

She was diagnosed with breast cancer over the summer, after a three-year mammogram drought.

"I regret not going, because now my life is turned upside-down," she said. "But I've had a lot of support."

She learned about the Pink Ribbon Girls, a non-profit organization that offers support for those battling breast cancer. One of those services is offering rides to and from chemotherapy.

That's how Schum met Poppe.

"He's always there," said Schum. "There's one time my appointment ended early. I sent him a message: 'So sorry. It ended early.' No problem. He was there within a couple minutes."

Poppe, a cancer survivor himself, said he works to make the ride whatever it needs to be, and he always works to be on time.

"I'm Johnny on the spot, 'cause I know they're feeling bad and I wanna get them home," he said.

Sometimes his car just needs to be a safe, comforting space.

"I had one lady who came from the hospital, she got in the car and put her hands over her head and she boo-hooed in the car," he said. "I mean out-and-out boo-hooed, and I thought, 'What do I do?' I held her hand."

Sometimes his car is space for confidential confessions, but it's always a chance for him to make a new friend.

"It gives me comfort," he said. "To me, it's an important job."

It's a stark contrast from running from breaking news story to breaking news story, never really getting involved with the people affected.

"Anything I can do to get their minds off what's happening or what they're gonna be doing when I drop them off at the hospital and they're there for five hours, taking chemo for five hours," he said.

He added that he believes, in a very small way, he helps the women he transports a little bit.

For Schum, he helped a lot and she said she's grateful she has a lift that also provides a little love.