Running For NET: A Mother’s Journey To Run In 50 National Parks In Honor Of Her Late Daughter

“I do not want to see another parent have to bury their child like we did.”

Gil Schaenzle has always been a runner.

Even osteoporosis couldn’t stop the Evergreen, Colorado, resident from lacing up her running shoes.

So when she lost her 21-year-old daughter, Anna Rose, in March 2017 to adrenal cortical carcinoma — a rare form of neuroendocrine tumors known as NET cancer — she decided to go on a run.

But not just on any run; Schaenzle set out to run in 50 national parks in the lower 48 states.

She runs a minimum of 3 miles and up to 8 miles in each park. So far, she has 30 national parks under her belt and plans to finish her nine-month journey with a half marathon in Rocky Mountain National Park in August.

(Left) Gil, Fred, and Anna Rose, (Right) Gil, and Anna Rose. Courtesy of Jules Wortman/Wortman Works.

It has been an emotional and cathartic journey for Schaenzle, who will be 62 in September. It’s helped nurture her heart while raising awareness for this rare and often misdiagnosed disease. Patients go an average of five to seven years before proper diagnosis, according to the Healing NET Foundation.

GOOD spoke with Schaenzle about the impact of her national parks run tour. (The conversation has been edited for length and clarity.)

Where did you get the idea for this run?

I was recovering from two surgeries when Anna got sick. It’s pretty rough on a runner not to run, and I came up with the idea to run in all the national parks. Our family has always loved the national parks, and we’ve taken Anna to a lot of them.

One day, she was so sick. I snuggled with her and told her my plan. I asked her if she would drive the car and support me when she got better. She said, “No.” I was really hurt! When I asked her why, she said, “Because I’m going to run them all with you.”

There was this resolution in her voice. I didn’t doubt that she was going to get well and run with me. It was going to be our celebratory run.

Tell me about Anna and her diagnosis.

Anna was an amazing athlete and just the sweetest kid. She was playing volleyball at college and running, and she would pass out. Her heart wasn’t working right. Her legs weren’t working right. They would turn grey and go completely numb. I took her to a cardiologist, and he couldn’t figure it out. She also was seeing a vascular surgeon in Grand Junction, where she went to school. He called me one day in February 2016 and told me she had popliteal artery entrapment syndrome. He’s only seen one case, and he’s about to retire.

We took her to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. When we came home, we thought the worst was behind us. Three days later, we found out she had cancer — stage 4 adrenal cortical carcinoma. She was 20 when she was diagnosed in July 2016. The cancer caused the popliteal artery entrapment syndrome and her heart condition. She’s the first documented case of popliteal artery entrapment syndrome being caused by cancer. It’s like one in a billion or more.

What is it about running that helps you grieve and heal?

Running used to help me find out how far I could go. Now, running is more about spending time with my girl. When I’m out running, she’s with me, and we talk. It’s my time with her.

There’s something that connects with our soul at a deep level when we’re out in nature. We push ourselves until you end up in this place of quiet solitude, discovery, and reflection. I think that’s a wonderful place to be.

What’s been the most interesting experience so far?

When I was in Pinnacles last month, I was at my campsite and I got up to get something from the tent. About halfway there, a bobcat started screaming and tore right in front of me! In Everglades, I was running down the road because I hadn’t gotten enough miles in. The ranger warned me that alligators were coming close to the road because there was still a lot of flooding from the hurricanes. And sure enough, I’m going down the road and a giant tail flips up in front of me. That was terrifying.

Why is this important now?

NET cancers aren’t obscure anymore. They’ve increased dramatically in the last five years, which is why there’s even more urgency to get the word out. You can go to the Healing NET Foundation website for more information. The CEO is a NET patient. She gets this more than anyone else. Anna’s surgeon, Dr. Eric Liu, is the chief medical officer, and he’s probably the foremost doctor in the country on NET cancers.

Be your own best advocate. If you see something in yourself, a friend, or neighbor that just doesn’t seem right, don’t sit on it. Explore it further. You may save somebody’s life.

You had made a promise to run with Anna, and you’re still doing it. What does it mean to you?

It means everything. I feel her with me all the time when I’m in the parks. I carry her teddy bear to every national park and take a picture of him in front of every official park sign. I know she’s happy because she always wanted to help other people with this cancer. I know she’s pleased with the efforts to bring awareness to NET cancer and help others who have it or may have it.

To join Schaenzle on her run or for more information, visit the Healing NET Foundation at


"Seventy percent of the Earth is covered with water, now you camp on it!" proudly declares Smithfly on the website for its new camping boat — the Shoal Tent.

Why have we waited so long for camping equipment that actually lets us sleep on the water? Because it's an awful idea, that's why.

"The world is your waterbed," Smithfly says on its site. But the big difference is that no one has ever had to worry about falling asleep and then drowning on their waterbed.

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While it is possible that one could wade into the water, unzip the tent, have a pleasant slumber, and wake up in the morning feeling safe and refreshed, there are countless things that could go terribly wrong.

The tent could float down the river and you wake up in the middle of nowhere.

You could have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

This guy.

It could spring a leak and you could drown while wrapped up in eight feet of heavy nylon.

A strong current could tip the tent-boat over.

There isn't any way to steer the darn thing.

This guy.

Mashable shared a charming video of the tent on Twitter and it was greeted with a chorus of people sharing the many ways one could die while staying the night in the Shoal Tent.

Oh yeah, it's expensive, too.

Even though the general public seems to think the Shoal Tent is a terrible idea, according to the Smithfly's website, it's currently sold out due to "popular demand" and it will be "available in 6-8 weeks." Oh, and did we mention it costs $1,999?

via zoezimmm / Imgur

There are few more perniciously dangerous conspiracy theories being shared online than the idea that vaccines cause autism.

This has led to a decline in Americans vaccinating their children, resulting in a massive increase in measles. This year has already seen over 1,200 cases of measles, a disease that was eradicated in the U.S. nearly 20 years ago.

A 2015 Pew Research study found that 83% of Americans think the measles vaccine is safe, while 9% think it's not. Another 7% are not sure. But when you look at the polls that include parents of minors, the numbers get worse, 13% believe that the measles vaccine is unsafe.

There is zero truth to the idea that vaccines cause autism. In fact, a recent study of over 650,000 children found there was no link whatsoever.

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A great example of the lack of critical thinking shown by anti-vaxxers was a recent exchange on Facebook shared to Imgur by zoezimmm.

A parent named Kenleigh at a school in New Mexico shared a photo of a sign at reads: "Children will not be enrolled unless an immunization record is presented and immunizations are up-to-date."

This angered a Facebook user who went on a senseless tirade against vaccinations.

"That's fine, I'll just homeschool my kids," she wrote. At least they won't have to worry about getting shot up in school or being bullied, or being beat up / raped by the teachers!"

To defend her anti-vaccination argument, she used a factually incorrect claim that Amish people don't vaccinate their children. She also incorrectly claimed that the MMR vaccine is ineffective and used anecdotal evidence from her and her father to claim that vaccinations are unnecessary.

She also argued that "every human in the world is entitled to their own opinion." Which is true, but doesn't mean that wildly incorrect assumptions about health should be tolerated.

She concluded her argument with a point that proves she doesn't care about facts: "It doesn't matter what you say is not going to change my mind."

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While the anti-vaxxer was incorrect in her points, it must also be pointed out that some of the people who argued with her on Facebook were rude. That should never be tolerated in this type of discourse, but unfortunately, that's the world of social media.

Here's the entire exchange:

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The post received a ton of responses on imgur. Here are just a few:

"'In my opinion...' 'I believe...' That's not how facts work."

"You're entitled to your opinion. And everyone else is entitled to call you a dumbass."

"'What I do with my children is no concern to you at all.' Most of the time, true. When your kid might give mine polio, not true."

"If my child can't bring peanut butter, your child shouldn't bring preventable diseases."

It's important to call out people who spread dangerous views, especially how they pertain to health, on social media. But people should do so with respect and civility.


He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

He risked his life to leave a "historical record of our martyrdom."

via Yad Vashem and Archive of Modern Conflict, 2007

In September 1939, the Nazis invaded Poland. By April 1940, the gates closed on the Lodz Ghetto, the second largest in the country after Warsaw.

Throughout the war, over 210,000 people would be imprisoned in Lodz.

Among those held captive was Henryk Ross. He was a Jewish sports photographer before the Nazi invasion and worked for the the ghetto's Department of Statistics during the war. As part of his official job, he took identification photos of the prisoners and propaganda shots of Lodz' textile and leather factories.

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via Imgur

Every few years there's something that goes mega viral because people can't decide what it is.

There was the famous "is it blue and black, or white and gold" dress?

There was the audio recording that said either "yanny" or "Laurel."

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Rochester NY Airport Security passing insulting notes to travelers caught on tape

Neil Strassner was just passing through airport security, something he does on a weekly basis as part of his job. That's when a contract airport security employee handed him a small piece of folded cardboard. Strassner, 40, took the paper and continued on his way. He only paused when he heard the security employee shouting back at him, "You going to open the note?"

When he unfolded the small piece of paper, Strassner was greeted with an unprompted insult. "You ugly!!!"

According to Strassner, and in newly released CCTV of the incident, the woman who handed him the note began laughing loudly.

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