Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Joanne Schiewe, Manitoba Runners' Association Hall of Fame Inductee, 2016

It is 12 months to the day that Jo received the diagnosis of stage 4 Glioblastoma brain cancer. Glioblastoma is a particularly nasty strain of cancer and such news is enough to flatten the best of us. However, as John Ford says below, "cancer picked the wrong person to mess with..." when it chose our Jo. Those of you who know Jo understand her importance to our community. She lives life large and bright. Her unbridled positive energy is her gift to us and we are forever grateful. She is our champion. She is our friend. She is a cancer slaying Ninja warrior!

Congratulations to our Jo who, on the 12 month anniversary of her diagnosis, is inducted into the Manitoba Runners Association Hall of Fame.  The complete nomination is included below.

It's a good day to be alive.


Some people feel the rain, others just get wet. Bob Marley
(photo credit Fern Berard)
Brief Summary of Joanne Schiewe’s Achievements

Ironman (Boulder Colorado, August 7, 2014)
Half-Ironman (June 2013)
Multiple-marathoner/ half-marathoner
Adventure Racer
Kenaston Running Room Instructor/Group Leader (Learn to Run, 10 km, half-marathon clinics)
Motivational Speaker
Curbside cheerleader for dozens upon dozens of races of all lengths
Winnipeg Polar Bare running participant (5 consecutive years)
Running mentor for dozens (if not hundreds) of novice runners
YPOM Beer Mile enthusiast and champion
Ted’s Run for Literacy, committee member (5 consecutive years)
Ace Burpee’s Top 100 Fascinating Manitobans for 2015 (#71)
Glioblastoma stage four brain cancer Survivor (12 months, zero days and counting)
Raised over $25,000 for Brain Cancer in 2015.
(photo credit Fern Berard)

Joanne Schiewe started her fitness journey in January 2009.  With little training she completed the Manitoba Half Marathon in June 2009.  “I finished it, but it was not fun” she remembers.  That fall, she joined the Kenaston Running Room and was introduced to the people who would become very special in her life. 

Joanne joined a Hypothermic-half marathon running clinic where she learned about training regimes and other valuable information.  She completed the Hypo half in February 2010.  In the spring of 2011 she completed the Manitoba Marathon, the first of many more to come.  Joanne then went on to become a Running Room Clinic Instructor, and group leader for a number of clinics. She continues to provide guidance to many runners or want-to-be runners, in addition to being a sought after motivational speaker. 

Facing injuries in 2012, she was introduced to cycling and swimming as cross-training options.  Triathlon was a natural progression. Here she met even more crazy awesome like-minded friends!  In the summer of 2012, she completed her first sprint triathlon, followed by a Half-ironman in June 2013, and a full Ironman in Colorado in August 2014. 

In early 2015, Joanne confided to friends that she was not feeling quite right, although she had been trying to laugh it off.  At their urging she went to the Emergency Department, where it was determined that there was a tumor that was ultimately diagnosed as glioblastoma, stage four brain cancer. A community of family, runners, triathletes, Ironmen, ultra-marathoners, and friends of all stripes rallied behind Joanne as she began a grueling course of radiation followed by chemotherapy. 

The Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon announced that fundraising for the2015 race would target brain cancer research.  Joanne seized the opportunity and organized a head-shaving party to raise what she hoped might be a few hundred dollars. The initial shave raised about $3000, but that was only the beginning.  In the weeks leading up to the WPS half-marathon, Joanne raised a total of $25,000. This represented the largest single fundraising effort in the history of the WPS half-marathon. Not one to sit on the sidelines and bask, Joanne ran a relay leg of the half-marathon despite her compromised health.

Joanne vehemently believes her family and friends have saved her life.  Her life, although not perfect, is well lived.  Joanne embraces life and soaks up every joyous moment. Jo is our friend, our mentor, our coach, and our champion. She has profoundly touched our community and we are forever grateful.

Respectfully submitted,

Lorraine Walton
Ayn Wilcox
Michael Bennett

The following members of Winnipeg’s Running Community endorse this nomination.

Joanne Schiewe is the quintessential returning athlete, whose journey went from learn to run to the marathon and Ironman. While redefining her personal athletic goals and guiding others to succeed, Joan used her tenacity and power of positive thinking to deal with brain cancer.  Joanne has touched the hearts of many in the community, as an athlete and coach and we are forever grateful for her leadership! Joanne Scheme would be a worth recipient of the MRA Hall of Fame under the athlete/builder category 
John Stanton C.M. LLD(Hon)
CEO &amd; Founder Running Room
Joanne Schiewe is a vibrant and colourful member of the running community for several years, both as a runner and as an inspirational role model. Whenever I run into Joanne the discussion would enthusiastically be about the next race, dreams of a BQ, or crazy injuries!  When Joanne was diagnosed with brain cancer one of her biggest disappointments was that she may never get to Boston.  After daily radiation and chemo for several weeks most people would have been conserving their energy and lying low.  Not Joanne!  She mustered up the strength and courage to run the WPS to raise money for Brain Cancer awareness by doing what she loves...running and inspiring others to never give up!! We are fortunate to have such an inspiration in our running community. 
Stephanie Roberecki, BMRPT, MCPA
Physiotherapist Works!
Race Director Physio Fit Run

(photo credit SMR)
I am writing in support of the nomination of Jo in the builder category of the MRA Hall of Fame. I have known Jo for over a year.  The challenges she has faced and continues to face are in themselves massive.  What makes her exceptional is the manner in which she continues to think of others and support the running community while her life hangs in the balance.  Jo is an Ironman and avid runner.  She continues to participate in many running events while suffering the harsh realities of chemotherapy treatment. For 2015 and again for 2016, Jo is a strong advocate for the Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon.  While also participating, she lends her voice, time and life experience to efforts of the race to further its profile and to share the word of the struggles of her particular type of cancer. I would be happy to chat further at your leisure, however, it is safe to say, JO represents the best in the Manitoba running community.
Sergeant Nick Paulet
Winnipeg Police Service
Race Director Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon

Over 4 years ago the Dirty Donkey Run team was first introduced to Joanne Schiewe... little did we know what an impact she would make on our events and an even bigger impact on our lives. Joanne has added her touch of commitment, class and crazy (all who know her can attest) not only to our "donkey family" but also to the local running and triathlon groups. I've personally witnessed her cheering participants on while hypothermic, getting the party started while wearing a bucket on her head, tattooing others (and herself...) all in the name of promoting and being the first to arrive and last to leave. Her personal accomplishments and goals in running, triathlon and ironman's are a testament to her strength and courage. When finding out of her diagnosis, those who know her well, knew cancer chose the wrong individual to mess with. Being nominated to the MRA Hall Of Fame is a deserving honor and proves what we all know already... individuals like her are why such strong communities in sport exist and Manitoba should be proud to honor her. There are few with the dedication to sport and a spirit like Joanne.
John Ford
Race Director, Swamp Donkey Adventure Race/ Dirty Donkey Mud Runs/Pain in the ASSiniboine/ Ice Donkey, Swamp Donkey Race Timing

Joanne is a unique individual. We all know her struggle over the past year in dealing with brain cancer and the treatments surrounding its eradication. The strength, commitment and fight to live life and to stay positive are what have amazed me most about her. But what makes her so special is not that she fought to run again as fast as she possibly could, which she did, it's that she continued to be the most amazing cheerleader for everyone else even while she was struggling through her own pain. Joanne has a spirit like no other. Running should be fun and Joanne embodies that both on the course and at our post race parties! A passion for life, running and fitness that has inspired many, including myself to not only be a better person, live life to the fullest but to stay fit and active when life inevitably gets you down.
Rick Shone
Race Director Swamp Donkey Adventure Race/ Dirty Donkey Mud Runs/Pain in the ASSiniboine/ Ice Donkey, Swamp Donkey Race Timing

Her strength and perseverance through this dark time in her life is absolutely remarkable. To continue fighting forward and living life to the max to show who is the boss is something special. I have never had a conversation with Jo and I don't know her well, but I 100% support this nomination,
Jonathan Torchia Race Director Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Half Marathon 

I first met this loud, beautiful, outgoing young lady at the Kenaston Running Room clinic where she was coaching a clinic. She completed several half marathons, marathons and eventually found her way to the world of triathlons. After completing a few triathlons she decided to train for the Boulder Ironman.  Having completed one myself the year before I understood the training and commitment required. She had put in all the required effort and training. Consequently she performed like a true athlete and completed the Ironman. Six months later she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer. As an athlete and competitor she stood up and vowed to beat all odds and fight for her life. She continues to outperform and inspire others to take up whatever challenges they face.                    
Jeannine Julius
IronMan, Tri-athlete, distance runner, friend
(photo credit Winnipeg Free Press)
I endorse the nomination of Joanne into the MRA Hall of Fame under the category ‘Athlete/Builder’. I cannot imagine a more deserving individual. In the years I have known Joanne she has been such a mentor to so many runners. We were able to converse together regarding endurance events and she likely didn't even realize that her words at that time encouraged me to continue to compete in some of the toughest/ longest ultra marathons in Canada. She even followed up her encouraging words, with support and an invite for a beer after a DNF. The past year, I am glad to say that I have not seen a different Jo. She has been going through some things that would sideline pretty much anyone in this world with her head held high and a definite spark.
Blake Anderson
Event Logistics Coordinator Swamp Donkey Adventure Racing, Ultra-marathoner, friend

I’m happy to add my name to the many people who believe Joanne should be inducted into the MRA Hall of Fame under the Athlete / Builder category.  In my opinion Joanne embodies the very reason for this type of award.  She has achieved a number of outstanding athletic accomplishments including marathon runner, adventure racer, and triathlete – including an Ironman Finisher in August 2014.  Prior to Joanne’s diagnosis she was training for a BQ in the fall, and I have no doubt that she would have achieved that goal because of her incredible focus, dedication and athleticism.  In addition to being an accomplished athlete Joanne has mentored and coached many along the way – me included.  She’s been an active volunteer at many races, and is always happy to give guidance (even when you don’t ask for it!).  I’ve always admired Joanne’s joie de vivre – she’s always lived life large! – And man, talk about the best jump shots! I’m convinced she must have practiced those in front of the mirror to get them so picture perfect!  When she was diagnosed with glioblastoma in Feb 2015 at 34 years old, 6 months after completing Ironman Boulder, no one would have blamed her if she had just retreated quietly to deal with this devastating diagnosis.  But not “our Jo”!  She’s even more committed to living her life to the fullest – sucking every fantastic minute out of this life she’s been given.  When she can she races, she volunteers, and yes - she still shares her opinion whether we’ve asked for it or not!  She jumps out of planes and goes white water rafting.  She has become an ambassador for the need for raising awareness and money for brain cancer research, and has raised over $25,000 for the cause herself.  She inspires many to live the life we’ve been given and not to take any of it for granted. 
Ayn Wilcox
Tri-athlete, 5 year -and counting- Melanoma Cancer survivor, friend

I have known Joanne since the beginning of her running journey some 6+ years ago. In that time while she has faced many challenges along the way. None, not even the daunting diagnosis of brain cancer, have shaken her resolve to continue to contribute to the running community. From leading run clinics, volunteering with Ted’s Run for Literacy, to completing a full Ironman triathlon, Joanne has shown and inspired others to enjoy the health benefits, both physical and mental health, of an active lifestyle. When cancer tried to step in her way, she fought back and used the opportunity to raise over $25,000 through the Winnipeg Police Service Half Marathon, for Brain Cancer research in Manitoba. I am Proud to call her my friend.
Scott Thomson
Marathoner, triathlete, friend

As an athlete, Joanne has established a considerable reputation: she has completed several marathons and other races of note, served as a clinic leader, overcome injuries and personal setbacks, and in 2014 became an IronMan.  While these are impressive in of themselves, Joanne’s true contributions to the running community in Manitoba are manifested by her courage, fortitude, and determination while fighting brain cancer. Joanne continues to meet her battle with cancer by absolutely living life to its fullest, and by not simply waiting for her illness to overcome or define her. Rather, Joanne looks for new challenges, exuding positivity, and in so doing inspires other athletes to embrace life.  This, I submit, has brought runners together as a community, making her an excellent choice for the honor of ‘Builder/Athlete’ in the MRA Hall of Fame.
Dr. William Diehl-Jones
Marathoner, multiple Boston Marathons, friend

I fully support Jo's nomination for the MRA Hall of Fame.  I first met Jo while training for a full marathon and as first timers, I think we both learned about the importance of being mentally prepared for a full marathon. She is a fixture in the local running community on many levels including being a committee member for Ted's Run for Literacy and having raised a record amount for the Canadian Cancer Society via the Winnipeg Police Half Marathon all while dealing with a brain cancer diagnosis.   At a time when most people would withdraw from extracurricular activities to deal with their health, grief and the uncertainty, Jo started fundraising and I truly believe that her contribution to this important cause will be felt for years to come. Jo's grit and determination developed in her journey as a runner and Ironman athlete is inspirational.   
Darcie Wadelius
Marathoner, Clinic group leader, friend

"I think she's a nice person" were my comments about Joanne to my wife Margot after a group run I was leading for a 1/2-marathon group for the Running Room. Joanne was training for her first 1/2 and for the first few miles of each Sunday long run the air was blue with the language coming from her mouth. For the rest of the run after the endorphins kicked in she was the most pleasant person to be around. She wanted to learn and I was eager to teach. A few months after her 1/2 marathon, I was discussing my worries with Jo about an upcoming race I had registered. In her own sweet way Jo told me "a wise runner once told me...." then I realized Jo was giving me my own advice back.  The student had become the teacher. And teach she did, becoming an instructor in numerous running clinics. She has continued to challenge herself in longer races and the Ironman Triathlon. She also selfishly gives back to the running community thru teaching, fund raising and leading by example by being a positive role model. Joanne is a nice person who I am proud to call my friend, and so very deserving of this award.
David Ranta
Marathoner, multiple Boston Marathons, friend

Our friend Jo is an Ironman. She is strong and tenacious and she's a champion in every sense. Our friend Jo loves life and life itself returns her love fiercely. Our friend Jo laughs and chats and makes all feel welcome and important. Our friend Jo embraces us, she gives herself freely to us, she gives and gives and gives and gives. We are enchanted with her sparkle. We are warmed by the love of her embrace. And now we give back to Jo for we are indebted to her kind and beautiful soul.
Michael Bennett
Race Director Ted’s Run for Literacy, ‘See Mike Run’ blog, marathoner, friend

No comments: