Karen Schroeder’s Story
Karen Schroeder was diagnosed with stage III-c ovarian cancer in September 1995, several months after her 40th birthday. For the next four and a half years, Karen underwent countless rounds of chemotherapy, transfusions of blood and platelets, and second- and third-look surgeries. Through it all, Karen maintained a firm resolve and worked closely with her doctors in determining her therapies. She also worked, via an Internet group, to support other women who were battling the disease. She encouraged them to get involved with their own healthcare and to never take no for an answer. Karen’s husband, Ric, would often find Karen in tears because she had received an e-mail from the spouse of an ovarian cancer patient who had died.
On February 17, 2000, Karen died at home surrounded by her family and friends. It was two weeks shy of her 45th birthday. She always told Ric that she worried more about how he was coping with the helpless feeling of only being able to watch her courageous fight, in what turned out to be a losing battle. For that reason she encouraged him to seek counseling in dealing with his feelings of anger and despair. And in Karen’s memory, Ric is going to use a portion of The Karen Schroeder Memorial Fund to establish a support group for spouses of ovarian cancer patients at USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.