“Today I sing for hope. I sing today in celebration of the inner peace I feel in this moment. I sing because life is beautiful. I sing for love and I sing for fear (and I believe we fear only because we love so all there really is, is love). I sing for surrender and I sing for release.”
– Amy Lyn Schnitzler
In the fall of 2016, at 26-years-old, Amy Lyn Schnitzler was to begin her graduate studies in opera performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Then she was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer (MBC), forever changing her life’s course. Amy became a fierce and dedicated opponent of a disease that affects so many lives. She armed herself with data from scientists, organizations, and from others living with (and dying from) this disease, and became a passionate advocate for more support and research into MBC.
A gifted writer, Amy blogged about her journey through life with MBC, weaving both humor and vulnerability into what would later become her book: My Terminal Life: Cancer Habitation and Other Life Adventures. Amy hoped that her story would make a difference in the lives of others living with MBC, that it would show the face of cancer beyond the usual “pink” awareness fluff, and that the sale of her book would help fund what’s needed most: research for a cure.
Whether you are a patient or a family member, a medical professional or clinician, an educator or student, please let us join together in this fight and help beat MBC.
Amy Lyn Schnitzler: Bright spirit, beloved daughter, sister, partner, niece, cousin, aunt, godmother—and friend to so many, passed away peacefully December 21, 2019, surrounded by love. She was born July 13, 1989 in Rochester, NY, attended Rush Henrietta schools, and graduated from Nazareth College in 2011. Her interests and talents were many, but her abiding love was music. Her beautiful voice was heard locally as well as in the Vatican and in the halls of La Scala, Milan, where she performed with the RH Singers. In the fall of 2016 she was to begin her graduate studies in opera performance at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
She had to defer her studies when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2016. Later that year the diagnosis was changed to metastatic breast cancer (MBC), forever changing her life’s course: Amy became a fierce and dedicated opponent of a disease that affects so many lives. She armed herself with data from scientists, organizations, and from others living with (and dying from) this disease, and became a passionate advocate for more support and research into MBC, beyond the usual “pink” breast cancer awareness focus. In spite of the cancer, her music lived on, including as part of the Madrigalia Festival Chorus in a production of Bizet’s Carmen with the RPO in May 2018. Some of her finest performances occurred in the living rooms and backyards of friends and relatives. They will be remembered by many.
A book with her writings and photographs will be published in the near future, with proceeds to go to METAvivor, an organization that exclusively funds MBC research. Amy appeared on national news in an interview with NBC, and locally with Ginny Ryan at WHAM and Beth Adams at WXXI. Interviews and articles were published in the Huffington Post, Underbelly online magazine, URMC Dialogue magazine, and the newsletter of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR).
In October 2018 she marched on Capitol Hill and participated in a “die-in,” sharing her story with legislative officials, and advocating for increased funding for MBC research.
Amy singing “Ave Maria”
In February 2019 she was interviewed and walked the runway in New York Fashion Week in lingerie for breast cancer patients designed by survivor Dana Donofree of Ana Ono Intimates. The show brought in over $100,000, benefitting the METAvivor organization.
Amy is also one of several MBC cancer patients in the documentary “NOT JUST ONE”, available through Amazon with proceeds going to METAvivor. In April 2019 she gave a presentation at BCCR’s Advanced Breast Cancer Seminar.
Asked in the Huffington Post interview “What one word defines you?” her answer was: “Determined. I am determined to live an awesome life, a life not dictated by my treatments or side effects, or cancer in general. I am determined to love the beautiful people in my life. I am determined to contribute to this world in a meaningful way.”
She did that. Amy is survived by her mother Judy, father Gary, brother Ryan, her beloved Mark, and her dog Riley, as well as a host of family members and friends.
Donations in her memory may be made to the METAvivor organization.
…Amy made a HUGE impact on me and countless others, and I feel truly honored that I got to meet her, spend time with her, hear that beautiful voice, and that a bit of her story will live on to inspire others as well.
“Like the clamoring geese overhead, I am coming home.”
— Amy Lyn Schnitzler