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Activist diagnosed with brain cancer, seeks assistance
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2016-04-03

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Local LGBT activist, social worker and artist Ian Harris Schroeder has been diagnosed with brain stem glioma—cancerous tumors in and around the brain stem.

A few months ago, Schroeder began experiencing dizziness, nausea, and blurred and double vision that doctors first diagnosed as an inner-ear virus. They said Schroeder's virus was psychosomatic and a side effect of their testosterone hormone therapy. Schroeder wasn't getting the help they needed so they went to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center. It was there that doctors correctly diagnosed Schroeder on March 7.

Schroeder recently got engaged to Patrice Foster, an actor/director and teaching artist, on March 9. They've been a couple for a year.

March 9 was also the day that Schroeder went in for their craniotomy—the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain. Since then, Schroeder had a second extraventricular drain to relieve elevated fluid and pressure in their brain. Currently, Schroeder is in the ICU recovering from their recent tracheotomy to allow them to breathe, and will be undergoing radiation in the coming weeks.

Schroeder is a family-ties case manager at Chicago House and the artistic coordinator with the Youth Empowerment Performance Project ( YEPP ). They were also featured in this publication's 30 Under 30 series last year. Schroeder received their bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and a master of arts degree in social-service administration from the University of Chicago.

Prior to moving to Chicago, Schroeder volunteered with the Metro Trans Umbrella Group and the now-defunct LGBT Center of St. Louis, Missouri, where they were raised. As an undergrad, they were very active politically with LGBT and underserved communities in the Twin Cities. While on summer break from college, Schroeder also volunteered at a battered women's shelter in Columbia, Missouri.

"Ian is looking forward to getting out in nature like they did as a kid when we visited the Black River near St. Louis, moving in with Patrice and celebrating their engagement with all of their loved ones," said Dani Schroeder, Schroeder's sister. "I'm looking forward to that day and being a part of their wedding."

"Ian is a fierce advocate for the community members that Chicago House serves," said Stan Waclaw, Chicago House chief administrative and human resources officer. "They possess an extraordinary spirit and passion for honoring and celebrating the lives of their clients. We're so grateful for Ian's openness, kindness, dedication and humor. They are a true inspiration to their clients and to the employees at Chicago House."

"Ian is one of the most committed, passionate, loving, caring and brave people I've ever met," said Bonsai Bermudez, YEPP's executive artistic director. "Their work building relationships and community has profoundly and positively supported the lives of the young people we work with. Their vision and practice to build a loving and healthier world has inspired me and other YEPP members to dream, take action and transform our lives. Their laughter and energy always illuminate any room they enter and young people's healing paths. We miss them profoundly. Please consider donating to their fundraising campaign so they can recover without worry and continue the great work they do for the organization and the world."

They have been unable to work for the last two months and are in need of financial assistance. So far, there's been a little over $5,000 raised of the $8,000 needed.

For more information on Schroeder's progress, visit www.caringbridge.org/visit/ianschroederbrain and to make a donation visit www.youcaring.com/ian-schroeder-542074 .


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