In January 2013, our daughter, sister, classmate, teammate and friend, Elizabeth Schickel, was found to have an invasive brain tumor. Elizabeth was fourteen years old. In the following days she underwent surgery to remove the tumor, followed by months of radiation and chemotherapy.
Elizabeth was the energetic 5th child of the Schickel family’s seven children. She was unrestrained in the love she expressed for her parents, siblings and friends. Her siblings recall how the generosity of her love spread throughout their family like wildfire, someone once commenting to the Schickels, “You all say ‘I love you’ to each other more times in a day than most do in a year!”
Elizabeth was an artist, and a voracious reader. She loved singing with her sisters, running, swimming, canoeing, bike riding, and was a summertime explorer. Among many things, Elizabeth was a natural and relentless athlete, loved by her teammates and coaches and respected by her opponents for her speed, skill, and sportsmanship.
Around her hometown of Natick, she was renowned for being lightning fast on the soccer field and the softball diamond. At Montrose School in Medfield, she was a powerhouse on the lacrosse team and spread her natural athleticism to the soccer and basketball teams as well. Her physical education teacher recalled how difficult it was to make the teams fair during gym class because whatever team Elizabeth played on would always seem to win.
Throughout her year long fight against brain cancer, she worked hard to regain her mobility and strength. She once said, “Once I can run again, I’m never going to stop.” She cheered her teammates from the sidelines and beamed with pride over the accomplishments of others, even as she was unable to achieve them herself. Elizabeth was a maverick of strength and kindness.
Elizabeth went home to God on February 12, 2014. We are inspired by Elizabeth and the enormousness of her short life.