At 6 feet 8 inches tall, Jamie Schou was a towering figure around Truckee for 15 years, not only because of his height but because of his oversized love for the joys of mountain living. In 2012, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma. Before he passed away two years later at the age of 35, he went through an aggressive treatment that included 33 doses of radiation, 20 chemo treatments, and 20 hours of surgery. In between the grueling treatments, Schou tried to enjoy life to the fullest in the short time he had.

For Schou, a Truckee real estate agent, living every day with joy meant being outdoors and doing the sports he loved: skiing, biking, sailing, summiting Half Dome, and jumping out of airplanes. Being outside and pushing his body not only made him happy, but gave him the courage to take on the next round of treatment.

“In Jamie’s experience he felt disconnected between his real life and cancer life,” said Jaime’s younger sister, Katie Schou. “No one could understand what he was up against. His friends couldn’t understand the disease, and his doctors couldn’t understand that he was an athlete.”

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Jamie noticed that while there were many programs to help children and older adult patients deal with the trials of cancer, there was a lack of cancer groups focused on patients in their 20s and 30s. So in 2014 he and Katie started the Send It Foundation to give young cancer fighters the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Since Jamie’s passing, Katie left her job as a management consultant to take the lead at Send It and is now the executive director.

Send It will begin fulfilling its mission this fall with a four-day adventure for cancer fighters on the shores of Lake Tahoe. A small group of cancer patients will paddleboard, mountain bike, and hike while living together in the same house. This winter, groups of cancer fighters will come to Tahoe to ski, snowshoe, and cross-country ski.

“[It will be] a real getaway,” Katie said. “The idea is to remove people from the cancer fight. It’s about connecting and taking a time-out from cancer.”

All of the programs are free to participants, as a key to Jamie’s vision was to provide access to the fun stuff for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it. The programs are paid for by donations, fundraising events, and sales of Send It clothing.

“Jamie loved these activities so much, they brought him so much strength and kept him positive and alive,” said Katie. “It was really therapeutic.”

Katie has been profoundly touched by the opportunity to carry on her brother’s legacy. “It is obviously painfully sad. I miss my best friend, roommate, and pal,” she said. “But there is this beautiful gift in being able to share his vision, the impact he will continue to have on so many people. We are just at the beginning.”

To help Send It with a donation, to volunteer, or if you know a cancer patient who would benefit from its services, contact senditfoundation.org.

Author

  • Tim Hauserman

    Tim Hauserman latest book is “Going it Alone: Ramblings and Reflections from the trail” published in 2022. He also wrote the official guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail, the 4th edition of which was published in 2020. His other books include “Monsters in the Woods: Backpacking with Children” and "Gertrude's Tahoe Adventures in Time." Tim has lived in Tahoe City since he was a little tyke and continues to be amazed with the beauty of Lake Tahoe. His former English teachers, on the other hand, are probably amazed that he became a writer. Contact Tim at writeonrex@yahoo.com

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