Karen Elaine Chelcun Schreiber, ageless, passed away on Monday, July 3, 2023 following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
Karen was born on November 1, 1957, in Chicago, Illinois to the late Fred and Elaine (Kuck) Chelcun. She was raised in Lincolnwood, Illinois and has fond memories of her childhood friends, local pizza parlor, and catching the ‘L’ to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game. Karen raised two children, Daniel, and Joseph, in Waunakee, Wisconsin. It was here that she built a home for her family doing much of the work herself.
After meeting her husband, Danny, at “The Club” playing racquetball, they fell in love and married in 2004 at the family lake house in Okee. Karen worked diligently in technology and administration for many years until she joyfully retired in 2005 at the ripe old age of 47. Karen and Danny enjoyed hiking the national parks and traveling the world to visit family and friends and never sat still for long. From Hawaii to the Netherlands; New Zealand to Cape Cod, Karen loved to explore the world. She especially loved sharing the beaches of Maui with her loving husband Danny, and the many friends they made there over the years.
As a realistic optimist, Karen enjoyed the Chicago Cubs, a good book, and a great glass of wine. She could recommend the nearest coffee shop and the best local fish fry, a handy kitchen gadget and the best app for whatever you needed. Her legendary Poppy Seed Casserole is still devoured by her children’s children and her potato pancakes are a close second. Karen enjoyed warmth and sunshine and all time spent with family. She was a family historian of sorts, collecting stories, photos, and memorabilia from earlier generations, and ensuring that knowledge of past generations is never forgotten.
Karen lost both her mother and brother to stomach cancer, and as a result she dove headfirst into research and patient advocacy. As a founder of No Stomach For Cancer in 2009, she led the charge in advocating for proper care, preventative treatment, awareness and education about stomach cancer. She participated in the creation of international standards of care for patients with HDGC. Her impact on families across the world has earned her numerous awards and recognition for her advocacy and philanthropic work. Karen lived the last 15 years of her life without a stomach due to Hereditary Diffuse Gastric Cancer Syndrome, and she helped guide countless members of the HDGC community through the same process. Most recently, along with “Parry’s Angels” she helped found Save Our Stomachs, a campaign that provides sustainable funding for research to identify drugs that will prevent the development of this cancer and identify a better way to determine cancer risk.
Along with her parents, Karen was preceded in death by her brother Greg Chelcun, and stepson Kevin Schreiber. She is survived by her beloved husband Danny Schreiber, her son Daniel (Anne) Crawford and granddaughter Addie (her sunshine), her son Joseph Crawford and grandson Joey, her step family Debbie (Owen) Brown, Nora, Porter, Carole Anne Schreiber, Melissa (Kevin) Schreiber, Elijah, Noah, Mikalah, Kaleb, Liam, Melinda DiGrado, Gabriel, and Anthony DiGrado, her brothers Ken Chelcun and Gary Chelcun, Cindy (Greg) Chelcun, and Suzanne Chelcun, many nieces and nephews, Betsy, and her many soul sisters and very special friends.
Karen is further survived by her enormous worldwide HDGC family for whom she's worked alongside and advocated for selflessly over the past 15+ years, helping raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for research and treatment options along the way. Considered the matriarch of the Stomach Cancer community, her loss is immeasurable but her legacy and unwavering commitment to funding research and treatment options will be with us all for many years to come.