Kathe Schaecher’s story is a compelling one without a doubt. How she turned tragedy into a victory is a testament to her will.
That she turned her personal tragedy into a victory for so many others makes her a certified first-ballot winner for the Wendell Mayor’s Award.
Schaecher lost her son a couple years ago to a rare blood disorder and, by all rights, could have thrown in the towel herself and wallowed in self-pity. Few would have blamed her. The cruelest fate in the world is to lose a child.
But Schaecher had other ideas. She had spent the years before her son’s death focused on his care and doing all she could to help him. When he passed away, she turned her attention to helping others.
A great many people who don’t her and won’t ever know her, have benefitted from her tireless efforts to help others. They may be patients at UNC Children’s Hospital., parents of those children, or caregivers of people dying from cancer.
Schaecher hasn’t gone about her work quietly either. She’s worked hard to bring other people into the effort – whether that’s soliciting donors for a blood drive or recruiting a big hairy macho guy to dress up like a woman and take part in a womanless beauty pageant or letting people throw cream pies in her face for a fee.
It is equally impressive that Schaecher’s efforts have not only had a tremendous impact on the people who live in Wendell, but on those who live far from Wendell. The criteria for the award really simply asks that the nominees have done something to make the town of Wendell a better place. A quick look at the list of previous winners shows a who’s-who of people who have worked hard to make Wendell a better place. Schaecher has accomplished that and so much more.
That she has found a way to make her work fun and rewarding for others is just one more reason for all of us to be impressed.
The winner of the 2014 Wendell Mayor’s Award is a wonderfully deserving recipient. We would all do well to study her ability to find the good in the bad and emulate her approach.