Findlay 'Race for the Cure' to memorialize woman's heroic fight against cancer

FINDLAY, OH (WTOL) - Everyone who faces cancer is courageous. Then there are those who do not survive their battle against cancer, but they help others win theirs.

Thousands of people in northwest Ohio will participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure this weekend in Findlay and Toledo. Each race is a celebration of a breast cancer survivor as well as a memorial to someone who lost their fight.

In Findlay, the race is memory of a Beverly Schroeder, a woman whose fight against the disease did not end with her passing.

When Beverly's daughter Tara looks at family pictures, she can still hear her mother giving sage advice.

"'The only way you're gonna get anywhere is by trying and having courage and keeping faith,'" Tara Schroeder remembered. "She instilled a lot of valuable life lessons in our life."

Tara has precious moments of her mother captured on video. Each video is a memory of Beverly living life to the fullest.

"We just miss her because she was everything to us," Tara said.

Bev knew a lot about living a happy life. Parts of it unfolded like a script to a heartwarming movie.

She married her high school sweetheart Michael. She gave birth to three daughters, who in turn gave her grandchildren.

She appreciated the beauty of music and eloquently played piano. Her favorite song was 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.'

All the while, she spent her life take care of others as a nurse.

Everything changed in 2014, when she got her annual mammogram.

"She was told to come back for a biopsy," Tara remembered. "Cut to a few weeks later, diagnosed with lobular breast cancer. And it's the type instead of like a tumor, it's like a spider web. So it's tougher to find."

With her nursing background, Beverly already knew she wanted to be aggressive with the treatment. She had a mastectomy and was still recovering from chemo and radiation therapy when she signed up for the Findlay Race of the Cure.

"She felt very strongly she was going to finish and complete this," Tara said. "And it was a struggle because she was struggling with neuropathy in her feet as a side effect from chemo."

Despite these challenges, Beverly competed the race.

The race had a profound effect on Beverly, inspiring her to take her fight beyond her own battle. She passionately wrote to lawmakers as well as spent her time raising money and awareness for the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Northwest Ohio.

In February of 2017, Beverly received news that her cancer was back. This time it was terminal, but she never faltered.

She continued to courageously fight the disease. She insisted to register for the Findlay race she loved so dearly, holding on to hope she would participate.

"She really tried to hang on because she wanted to be part of it, even if it meant we were wheeling her around," Tara said through tears. "'Scoot me',' she'd say. 'Scoot me through this.' She tried so hard for so long."

However, on April 9, Beverly's fight was over. She was 67.

"It was Palm Sunday," Tara said. "How heartbreaking it is to watch someone you love so much go through the dying process and not be able to fix it, just like she would for us."

True to her personality, she left profound notes of encouragement to her family. One of them reading: "Get a dog and go help others. Two great ways for getting over grief. Fill the hole with love."

For the Schroeder family, helping others means finding a cure for breast cancer.

"She wants a cure.  And I think for her it was more about preventing anyone else from having what she went through," Tara said. "We just want to make her proud and that her legacy will live on even if she's not here, cause that way, she's still here."

With Beverly there in spirit, the family will continue their tradition of attending and participating in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. But this time, they do so with a memory of a loving wife, mother and grandmother who heroically took on cancer while helping others after her beat it.

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