Last January, Stephanie Schauder lost her father to pancreatic cancer. In November, she and her friend Tim Gruber, a fellow student at Cannon School, launched a 12-mile community run as a fundraiser for Relay for Life Mooresville/Lake Norman in honor of her father, Craig Schauder, who was 49. The event started as a simple idea when Stephanie and Tim were running together one day, and evolved into something much greater than either of the students could have imagined. More than 250 people joined the event, and raised more than $16,000 for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society. The event was dubbed Cannon Runs for Cancer Research, or CR², and was sponsored by local businesses. They began at Presbyterian Hospital-Huntersville and ran to their school in Concord, where Olympic gold medalist Dave Wottle participated with a speech. Stephanie and Tim worked hard to make their idea a reality by approaching school administration and gathering sponsors. They even designed the red and white CR² T-shirts worn by the runners the day of the event. They reflected with Lake Norman Magazine on what they accomplished for a worthy cause.
Q: Stephanie, what inspired you to get involved with Relay for Life? That was the first thing I thought of when my dad got sick. I wanted to do something to make a difference. I had heard of Relay for Life through a couple of my friends and went to the Mooresville Relay for Life. Then I thought, “Hey, I could do this at school.”
Q: How did the idea for the run evolve? Tim: At my old elementary school you could walk or ride your bike to school. I was running one day with Stephanie and I said “Do you ever think it would be really cool to run to school?” And then from there we had the idea to do it as a fundraiser. Stephanie: The original idea was completely different from how it actually turned out. It wasn’t going to be a big event. It was just going to be, “Hey, let’s get people to sponsor us to run one day from our houses to school.” And then it just got bigger.
Q. What was the day of the run like? Tim: We went over to Presbyterian. I think there were about 25 people at the start, Cannon kids, people from the community and parents. It was great. They had tents set up and everyone was getting pumped. There was a pretty good hype going. When we came over the hill, we saw the five-mile people. You could see this little speck, a few people in red T-shirts. And then all of a sudden, it’s like this huge sea of red. Stephanie: The whole entire school and community were standing there in their T-shirts cheering. Personally, I didn’t even feel the whole entire run. And I doubt many other people did either. It was just energy and excitement. Tim: It went by too fast.
Q. How does it feel to have been part of such a great cause? Tim: I’ve always seen other people do this stuff and it’s kind of cool to actually do it. It’s very cool to see an idea grow and have the whole school embrace it. Stephanie: I can’t believe that it actually happened and it happened better than we ever imagined it would. We sold out of adult small T-shirts the second day they were on sale. Just to see kids wearing them all the time, it was really inspiring.
Q. How did you exceed your $12,000 goal? Stephanie: I never even thought we would reach our goal. I never in my wildest dreams thought we would. But amazing things happened the day of the run. Someone just flat out wrote a $2,000 check. I’m just so thankful for all the support we got from everyone. Tim: There is a pretty big sense of accomplishment for everybody. I want to keep this rolling. I don’t think we can just stop after the run. We have to do more now.