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Gorman: Tickled pink by Bunny run

Kevin Gorman
| Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, 9:27 p.m.

Runners will wear pink, from shirts and socks to feather boas and mustaches Thursday for the Mingo Classic.

It makes Bunny Schmidt emotional just to talk about it.

Actually, she's tickled pink.

The Baldwin cross country coach is battling cancer for the third time in a quarter century. To see students support cancer awareness means the world.

“If 16- and 62-year-olds can somehow get along in this world and help each other...” Schmidt said. “I feel very lucky to be here to see them.”

Schmidt was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38 and had a mastectomy on her right side. Four years later, doctors found a tumor on the left breast and she had that removed, too.

Cancer-free for 16 years, she went into “total body shock” during knee replacement surgery, only for doctors to discover bone cancer in her hip, shoulder, sternum and spine.

After radiation didn't cure the cancer, Schmidt underwent chemotherapy. She continued coaching, but arthritis forces the once-avid runner to use a cane.

Baldwin's runners are quick to help with an arm or by setting up a chair, seeing that she needs them as much as they need her.

“She's just been a trooper through it all,” Baldwin co-coach Rich Wright said. “It's really rough watching her go through this third bout of cancer. Our kids really love her. She loves the kids, and she'd do anything for them, and they realize that.

“Every day for her is a major struggle, just to be with us. Some people would say the heck with it and give up. She battles every day, just to survive. She does so much, way more than I do. She's the heart and soul of the program, as far as I'm concerned.”

Cancer can't touch that.

Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at kgorman@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.

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