A Power for Good

Sarah was a leader, role model and fiercely loyal to younger sisters Abbey and Ella. Sarah was extremely loving, kind and generous to all she encountered. She was an old soul from a very young age. Sarah was surrounded by love throughout her life with adoring parents, grandparents, siblings and cousins. She had incredibly close friends and teammates and had the opportunity to experience true love during her short life.

As a young child, Sarah had a very active imagination. She was often telling stories with vivid descriptions of characters that only existed in her mind’s eye. Her creativity was perhaps matched only by her curiosity and sense of adventure. Sarah was always eager to try new things.

Sarah always wanted to make a difference in her community, both supporting the causes she believed in and constantly advocating for others in her every-day life – even when she could not always advocate for herself.

Sarah had an incredible gift as a runner that provided many opportunities for her that fit well with her many passions. Sarah’s gift to this world extended far beyond the track and trails. Her life was always about service to others and trying to make her community a better place.

Sarah’s love for travel and adventure was nurtured by her grandparents. She traveled with them to Paris at age 10, seeing the Eiffel Tower and numerous museums, traveling by bus and train and even getting caught up in protests and riots throughout the city. To Sarah, it was all so exciting, fueling a desire to travel all over the world. Sarah also experienced Canada, Mexico, and Alaska during her 21 years. Standing on the glaciers near the top of Denali, she said she felt like she could see the entire world. More travel to Europe after graduation intensified her love of history and different cultures but a family trip of a lifetime to Africa and Dubai was based in large part on Sarah’s planning. She wanted the family to see Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and experience the thrill of Devil’s pool. Sarah had plans to attend classes at the London School of Economics during the summer of 2022 that would not come to pass.

Sarah loved being part of student government, planning events and school rallies. Her seven years of service to her community in National Charity League (NCL) included work at the local food pantry, thrift store, and animal shelters (wanting to bring home a new dog every time). The many hours she put into this service were never a burden or chore for her – but rather a badge of honor. At her 8th grade culmination from Media Creek Middle School in Oak Park, Sarah won the Marie Panec Award honoring the individual who best embodied what it means to be a compassionate global citizen. We know that is often how she saw herself and that was how Sarah framed her life goals.

In College, she interned at Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson’s office, which furthered her interest in government process, politics, and the law. Sarah loved being part of a team that was making a difference. She was now able to help actively push for women’s rights and gender equality, making a difference in her Wisconsin community. Sarah believed in the process of government, even working as a 2020 election poll worker to be sure everyone had a vote and a voice. She would go with friends to rallies or protests even during some of the turbulent civil unrest during 2020 and 2021. Sarah also was part of the Wisconsin Student Athlete Council, helping make a difference in her own athletic community.

Sarah is of course most widely known for her very special talent for running. This talent was discovered at a young age and nurtured throughout her life. Her early success led to national event competitions in middle school and throughout her tenure at Oak Park High School. Sarah’s high school running career culminated with championships in the CIF D3 1600M and 3200M races to go with her D3 SS cross-country championships. Her historic 1600/3200M double championship was something that had not been done by a Ventura County athlete in over two decades and solidified Sarah’s title as Ventura County 2018 Female Athlete of the Year. These early career highlights led to scholarships offers from around the country. When Sarah committed to D1 running power-house, University of Wisconsin – Madison, her parents’ shared alma-mater, Sarah was thrilled.

During her three years at Madison, Sarah managed the many disruptions that Covid created while still being able to run in several Big 10 Championships and other big meets across the country. As a three-season sport with XC, Indoor Track and Outdoor Track, the life of a D1 distance student-athlete was not easy. Sarah had little downtime and almost never an off-season. Those pressures to train, compete while being a student and a young adult were difficult and certainly compounded during the restrictive Covid period. But Sarah loved being a Wisconsin Badger and took such pride in being part of an incredible team of woman runners.

All of that said, it was the friendships with all the girls and guys on all of her teams, and even the coaches and parents supporting those teams that Sarah cherished most.

We lost our dear Sarah by suicide. Sarah passed on April 13, 2022 surrounded by her loving family. Organ donation surgery allowed for all of her major organs to be transplanted to multiple recipients, giving life and hope to others.

Through our deep despair as parents grieving the loss of a child, we manage to still feel blessed to see so much of the good in Sarah evident in her sisters Abbey and Ella. We will cherish that forever. We hope they always feel Sarah’s presence on each of their shoulders, and with that a feeling of unconditional love and acceptance, guiding them in tough times and applauding their achievements.

Sarah’s life, love, and wonderful heart are the foundation of our hope for the future of The Sarah Shulze Foundation. The Foundation will carry Sarah’s legacy forward, supporting and fighting for the causes dearest to her: Mental Health, Student Athletics and Women’s Rights. Sarah’s community of family, friends and other passionate individuals are resolved that The Sarah Shulze Foundation will make a difference in the world and have a positive impact on the lives of others.

Thank you for supporting this effort.