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NFE Athlete Spotlight: Timothy Schuster

In honor of his close friend’s son, Ari Taub, Timothy Schuster ran the London Marathon as a member of the NF Endurance team in April 2019. Tim works for a healthcare system in Toledo, OH, and prior to the marathon had the opportunity to talk about his training, his fundraising (over $8,400!), and his motivation on the company’s internal website prior to the marathon. Tim shared his writing with Ari’s father, David Taub, who was kind enough to share it with us.

Why on earth would you run 26.2 miles?  This is exactly the question I used to ask myself. During residency, my wife would try and get me to run but I always felt too tired and never understood the point. At that time, I would not even run 3 miles, let alone consider a marathon. All that changed, however, when my younger brother dared me to run the Chicago Marathon with him in 2008. Although the training was tough, I found the more I ran, the easier it became. I finished that first marathon with my brother and then found myself signing up again for the next year. After that, I became hooked. One race led to the next each with a new goal. Over the years, my goal went from just finishing the race to trying to race for time. Each race provided a new motivation and challenge. I came to realize that runner’s high is a real thing as running relieved my stress, built my strength, and gave me energy. After long days in the clinic or operating room, I still wanted to go running.

One of my biggest running achievements was also my scariest. In 2012, I qualified for the Boston Marathon. I ran the marathon in 2013 with my family there cheering me on. This was also the year of the bombing. I was fortunate to be okay, but that marathon will always stay with me and helped provide me a newfound focus and purpose for making running matter. For me running has become a gift, not something to take for granted but rather something to respect. Every day that I run, I embrace the challenge. On difficult days it’s a great way to clear my mind and on great days it’s a wonderful way to make it better. The longer I’ve practiced medicine, the more evident that it is to me in seeing patients of the benefits of regular exercise both physically and mentally (although I recognize that running 26.2 miles is surely not needed to get this benefit!).

Running with purpose has led me to my latest quest – running the 2019 London Marathon on behalf of the Children’s Tumor Foundation. One of my dearest friends from residency and a colleague in urology in my earliest years in Toledo has a son who has neurofibromatosis (NF). NF causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body and can lead to blindness, bone abnormalities, cancer, deafness, disfigurement, learning disabilities, excruciating and disabling pain and often early death. NF is under-recognized and underdiagnosed yet affects more people than cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s disease combined. There is no cure for NF currently and the manifestations of the disease as it progresses can be significant. Diagnosed as a baby, Ari is now 12 (the same age as my son) and loves football, sports, science, and anything related to University of Michigan (also like my son). Although he is doing well now, he continues to be monitored annually for signs of progression.

When the opportunity arose to run a marathon to raise money for the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF), I jumped at the chance. This seemed like the perfect next challenge for me. Not only could I continue my running (and have never run an international marathon before) but could also help spread awareness about NF, share Ari’s story, and raise funds to support NF research and CTF patient support programs.

I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received from my ProMedica colleagues on this effort. The staff at ProMedica Genito-Urinary Surgeons, in particular, other staff and even patients have been cheering me on in this effort – providing moral support and even helping to hold office fundraisers and spread the word on social media. This marathon has shown me the power of people and the willingness for the ProMedica system to rally in support of an important cause.

While training this winter has been its own challenge, I am more driven than ever to prepare for the London Marathon. This April 28th, as I line up with 40,000 other runners, I will be the most excited and proud I have ever been at a start line. Running the London Marathon for Ari on behalf of the NF Endurance Team will surely be one of my most memorable marathons. When I think about it, it’s this feeling and this passion that makes me want to run.

If you would like to join the NF Endurance team for an upcoming race or to “Choose Your Own Challenge,” please visit