NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 18, 2018) - When Gil Schaenzle lost her only child, 21 year old daughter Anna Rose on March 26, 2017 to a form of cancer called Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs), she came up with a way that would not only help nuture her broken heart, but also celebrate her daughter’s life while raising awareness, funding and hope to this misdiagnosed disease. Schaenzle is running in 50 U.S. National Parks throughout the contiguous states.
NET cancer is the same complicated disease that ended the life of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. In recent news, Bollywood star Irrfan Khan ("Life of Pi" and "Slumdog Millionaire") announced he had been diagnosed with a rare neuroendocrine tumor. NET cancer is a cryptic disease where patients often present with confusing or duplicate symptoms that mimic more benign diseases or show no symptoms at all. As a result, patients go an average of five to six years before proper diagnosis.
With 22 national parks, seven national monuments and one national preserve down, Schaenzle is nearing the halfway mark of her journey later this month at Sequoia National Park. She has thus far gone through 16 states, traveled 13,505 miles and has managed to run over 100 miles throughout some of our nation's most beloved national parks. Out on the trail, Schaenzle experienced several unexpected encounters; there were many alligators in Florida where one in particular got way too close and she ended up running down the middle of the road so she wouldn't have any more close calls. Other animals include manatees, elk, deer, Bighorn sheep, coyotes, fox, Javelina pigs (dead, thankfully), eagles, sea birds, and 7 different kinds of rattlesnakes! Weather events have been quite varied and extreme where she was forced to camp in eight degree weather, survive an ice, snow and dust storm, then a 10 foot chop in Dry Tortugas, along with rain and unusually cold temperatures in Death Valley.
Schaenzle shares, "I have also become a member of The Loneliest Road in America Club from traveling Highway 50 in Nevada. The road getting to Hwy 50 wasn't very populated either. I drove 4 hours and only saw 2 trucks, a dead coyote, and three eagles." Always gracious Schaenzle continues, "With all the hardships of my expedition, I have met the most wonderful people in the most unexpected places. I'm grateful for the NET patients who have shared their stories with me. The scenery has been stunning, and most importantly, Miss Anna has been with me every step of the way." View Gil and The Healing NET Foundation's story by video here.
2018 National Park Run for Anna Rose and NET Cancer
20 Channel Islands National Park
23 Pinnacles NP
25 Sequoia NP
26 Kings Canyon NP
28 Yosemite NP
1 Redwoods NP
2 Lassen Volcanic NP
12 Hot Springs NP
2 Cuyahoga Valley NP
4 Acadia NP
8 Shenandoah NP
9 Shenandoah NP
11 Voyageurs NP
13 Isle Royale NP
30 Wind Cave NP
30 Mt. Rushmore National Monument
Gil Schaenzle will end her nine month long quest in August near Denver’s Rocky Mountain National Park where they used to take Anna as a child. Check out her story on Good Day Colorado andMichaeLA on CNN | Headline News. Follow her journey on Facebook, Instagram and blog National Park Run for Anna Rose & NET Cancer. Supporters and friends can join Gil on the trail by signing up at The Healing NET Foundation.
ABOUT GIL SCHAENZLE:
In her own words: My name is Gilberta Schaenzle, but everyone calls me Gil. I grew up on a large cattle and sheep ranch in South Dakota. Aside from my first 17 years, most of my life has been spent in Colorado. It was in Boulder, CO where I met my wonderful husband, Fred. We just had our 26th anniversary. We live in a little mountain town in Colorado called Evergreen.
I was in Electrical Engineering until our beautiful daughter, Anna Rose was born in 1996. It was then that I took on the most wonderful job in the world…Anna’s mom. Anna was the whole package…intelligent, beautiful, and athletic. She had a big heart and was generous. I always felt humbled that God had chosen me to be her mom.
In addition to being Anna’s mom, I was also team mom to various volleyball teams. I love that many of the girls still call me Momma Gil. In addition to being a ‘momma’ I like to travel, cook, run, ski, hike, do photography and I make custom handmade books and social invitations
ABOUT THE HEALING NET FOUNDATION:
The Healing NET Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on providing NET educational resources and fostering collaboration among NET experts to improve patient care. The organization educates physicians and other healthcare professionals, patients and their caregivers, optimizing care for those with neuroendocrine tumors and cancers.
The Healing NET Foundation resulted from a collaboration between a patient diagnosed with an incidental NET tumor in 2011 and an expert NET physician. The story of their meeting brings to light the common story many patients face when trying to seek information on their disease. Co-Founder Cindy Lovelace (patient) was already a breast cancer survivor, but her oncologist had little information on her new diagnosis. Six months after surgery to remove the tumor, Lovelace googled more information on NET cancer when she learned from a national news report that Steve Jobs had died after battling the same disease. She found Co-Founder Dr. Eric Liu, a NET surgeon and specialist, literally one and a half miles away from her oncologist's office. He had studied neuroendocrine tumors with ground-breaking researchers in Europe, where new NET treatments began and are slowly being translated into FDA-approved programs in the U. S. The story represents the all too familiar and frustrating journey NET patients nationwide embark on in trying to find a provider that is aware or understands their disease. To learn more, please visitwww.thehealingnet.org.