Dear Fellow Horse Lover,
I would like to introduce you to our son Zane. He was a wonderful boy, an honor student, an avid athlete, and a fun and positive friend.
In June of 1999, he was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of bone cancer, Malignant Fibrous Histeocytoma (MFH). One year later, he made his transition to a heavenly life.
The way Zane handled his challenge was an inspiration to all who knew him. In this section I will share writings by and about Zane so perhaps he will be an inspiration to you, too.
These writings tell his story.
REFLECTIONS OF ZANE
Zane Wrote Two Powerful Messages.
The First Was Written Just After His Diagnosis.
The Second One Was Written Two Days Before His Passing.
Sunday, August 1, 1999
I just wanted you to know that while I have been going through all this I have found out some things, and thought I would share them with you.
First, never, ever give up. I have found that out through many things. Because if you give up, then what are you living for? Don’t give up.
Next, you need to have a great relationship with the Lord. This includes reading the Bible and prayer. This is the most important. God is the most powerful thing of all. When I do hear, not often, bad news such as my tumor, I start to feel really bad. I think of how powerful the tumor must really be. But then, I compare it to God. Wow! That is like putting me up against Mark McGwire in a home-run-hitting contest. God equals victory.
Finally, I want everybody to live every day, one day at a time. And enjoy it. Laugh at yourself.
Friday, June 16, 2000
Well, Mrs. Jenkins, we are going through some tough times, but that is only how you look at it. After my tumor came back in my knee and lymph nodes, we decided to leave MDA and do alternative treatment in Mexico. The first one stabilized me, but didn’t cure me because I was still on painkillers from surgery. Then we tried again there, but the cancer had come back in my groin, abdomen, pelvis, and lungs.
About a week ago, we went to Tijuana for some different treatment, but I wasn’t in the parameters for the treatment. So they sent me home with some stuff. So now I have given it up to the Lord.
At first I was so scared when I wasn’t able to breathe, but my dad settled me down by telling me to find a “safe and happy” place where I am comfortable. And from that day on, I have considered that to be my dream house for when I go to Heaven. I am very anxious to live and preach God’s word, or if the time comes soon, then I couldn’t be happier to go sit at my Father’s side.
Well, I’m goin’ to lay back down. I hope to hear from you soon.
The following message was written by a resident doctor at M.D. Anderson
who quickly became a family friend. Her name was actually “Angel.”
She included this message in her wedding program when she married her husband.
Zane … My Angel
Tom truly honored me by suggesting we donate our wedding gifts to the Zane Schulte Athletic Scholarship Fund. I’m very lucky to have found such a compassionate and generous man to share my life with. Many have asked about Zane, and I have a hard time talking about him without the smiles and laughter being intermingled with tears.
On June 24, 1999, I met one of the most inspirational people I have ever known. He was wise beyond his fifteen years and he forever changed my life. His name was Zane Thomas Schulte. I had just graduated from medical school, and suddenly I had donned a long starched white coat and people were referring to me as doctor. And to make the experience even more intense, I started my intern year at M.D. Anderson and was working hard to appear composed. Then came Zane, my very first patient. My composure was immediately tested by his outrageous pranks. And he immediately won my heart. He once told his friends “to live every day one day at a time. And enjoy it. Laugh at yourself.” His laughter proved the best medicine for all the people he touched. He had an uncanny ability to make people feel at ease in the most difficult situations. I once asked him if he ever asked himself, “Why me?” His answer was simple: “Why not me?” His selflessness was just one more endearing quality in a long list. He started out as my patient but quickly became my friend. His courage was unbelievable, his compassion heartwarming, and his love for friends and family undeniable. His body succumbed to the cancer on June 18, 2000, but his spirit soars. He will forever be in my heart and I am a better person for having known him. I would like to thank Zane’s mom and dad, Barbra and Tom, for their special friendship. And thank you all for your generosity in honoring Zane.
He Lost Battle With Cancer, But Won THE War
(Reprinted with permission from the Quarter Horse News)
For young Zane Schulte, the son of Tom and Barbra Hulling Schulte, sports were his passion, pranks his delight, and friends his way of life.
Even during a year-long battle with cancer, the 16-year old fought the fight with the style of an athlete so impressive that his coach, Glen West, referred to the teenager as “my coach about life.”
Zane spent many a week at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston last year, fighting his cancer with chemotherapy, and he always arrived with a bag of pranks. A rubber snake that he promptly attached to his I.V. pole to greet the medical staff was a favorite. His gregarious outgoing personality added a string of new friends during his battle, from 5-year olds in the cancer ward, whose hand he held during their first treatment, to a string of white-coated doctors and nurses. Along the way, his spirituality grew by leaps and bounds, becoming yet another area of his multi-dimensional life that affected others. When Zane Thomas Schulte lost that battle, Sunday, June 18th, he left behind a legacy for others far beyond his years.
“Zane’s faith grew exponentially throughout his illness,” remembered his mother, Barbra, “and while we strived and believed in a cure, about 10 days before he passed on, he made a transition, looking toward Heaven with the same optimism and servancy he had held for life. You could see it become clearer and clearer in him, in his eyes, in his heart, with each passing day until he was shiny. It was incredible to observe. You could tell he was in the presence of God.”
Zane, born August 29, 1983 in Seattle, Washington, had lived in Brenham, Texas, for most of his life. Diagnosed with osteosarcoma on June 24, 1999, almost a year from the date of his funeral, Zane’s numerous hospitalizations from M.D. Anderson to Tijuana only broadened the circle of individuals he influenced. Family members, life-long friends, and high school friends shared similar stories of Zane-style inspiration at the funeral. So did Jorge Lara-Braud, a gentleman Zane met while in Tijuana and Margaret Pearson, the assistant to Dr. Norman Jaffee at M.D. Anderson. Dr. Jaffee is world-renowned for his studies in Osteosarcoma.
Last year, a chronic knee soreness revealed Zane’s osteosarcoma. After extensive chemotherapy, he then underwent knee replacement surgery October 15th, during which cells from a second form of cancer, malignant fibrous histeocytoma, were found. An aggressive cancer usually reserved for older men, only three cases of MFH had been diagnosed in children at M.D. Anderson prior to Zane’s. Last April 20, in an effort to stem the spread of the disease, Zane’s leg was amputated. From chemo, to surgery, to amputation, young Zane Schulte remained undaunted, a spirit that touched the hearts of those who knew him.
“He had a contagious optimism,” said Margaret Pearson during his funeral service. “Zane never saw obstacles, he only saw goals.”
Zane grew up around horses and in the back of show arenas since his parents, Tom and Barbra, are well-known figures in the equine world. The couple owns the Center for Equestrian Performance, a Brenham company that stresses the mental aspects of riding horses as well as the physical ones. The company offers numerous videos, tapes, and books on preparing one’s self mentally for riding in any kind of sport, and Barbra has travelled nation-wide, both as a speaker and as a teacher of training seminars. She has also trained cutting horses professionally and has numerous championships to her credit.
In addition to his parents’ involvement, Zane’s grandfather was the late Cletus Hulling, a well-known horse trader in the industry. His uncle, Cletus Hulling, Jr., is a cutting horse trainer and his aunt, Tootie Lyons, showed cutting horses in the non-professional division for many years.
Prior to his death, Zane e-mailed a favorite teacher, also battling cancer, beginning the e-mail with “Well, Ms. Jenkins, we’re going through some tough times, but it just depends on how you look at it.”
Zane had chosen to look forward. With a positive spirit, he planned his funeral, chose his speakers and pastors, and while friends lit votive candles at a special Sunday evening prayer service held by Father Kurt of the Monastery of St. Clare, Zane Schulte passed on.
“He made us very proud,” reflected Zane’s mom. “It was a glimpse into the real heart of what life is and what Christianity really is. It was a tremendous gift he gave us.”
Services were held June 21st at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Brenham, Texas, with interment in the Saint Matthews Church Cemetery in Sandy Hill, Texas. Memorials can be made to the Zane Schulte Scholarship Fund, Bank of Brenham, 501 South Austin, in Brenham, Texas 77833.
The reflection of his deeply spiritual nature buoys his parents today. As Tom Schulte shared, referring to his son’s e-mail, “We’re going through some tough times, but it just depends on how you look at it. You can see his death as a tragedy or his life as a gift; that gives us comfort and makes us very proud.”
By Gala Nettles
On June 18, 2000, 16-year old Zane Thomas Schulte lost his battle with cancer. Zane endured almost a year of major surgeries, constant hospital visits, and chemotherapy before his young body finally surrendered. Although his body quit on him, Zane never gave up. He chose to always look at the bright side of things. His family could choose to bitterly hate the fact that Zane’s gone, or they could choose to treasure the sixteen years they had with this amazing boy. They’ve followed his example and have chosen to be …
(Reprinted with permission from The Quarter Horse Journal)
Every month Barbra Schulte writes a column for The Quarter Horse Journal. One of the best-read columnists, Schulte uses her professional training to teach others about building confidence, bolstering their courage, and, above all, turning negatives into positives.
Last year, Barbra and her husband, Tom, suffered the greatest tragedy for any parent. They lost their only child, Zane, to a particularly rare form of cancer called Malignant Fibrous Histeocytoma, a bone cancer that is rarer still in teenagers.
M.D. Anderson Medical Center in Houston, one of the country’s leading cancer hospitals, became the Schulte’s second home. The 90-mile trip from their home in Brenham, Texas, grew familiar through nineteen trips for surgeries and too many doctors’ visits to count.
In the end, doctors amputated Zane’s leg in an attempt to slow down the cancer. When it became apparent that conventional medicine could no longer help Zane, the Schulte’s took him to Mexico for treatment, but he didn’t fit the patient profile.
Zane planned his own funeral, choosing speakers and pastors to tell his story – but not one with an ending – his was just beginning.
It still hurts. It always will. When Barbra and Tom talk about Zane their eyes still well with tears. Talk to them together and their hands automatically join in an unspoken safe house of support.
You can almost see the flood of memories reinforcing a father’s pride and a mother’s joy. They remember the days from before the cancer, when their lives manifested themselves in Zane. The days after – days when the sorrow, pain, and anger were offset by the joy that their boy gave to others.
“When I think of Zane, the word I think of is ‘joyful’,” Barbra said. “He always looked for solutions by seeing the very best in a situation. He didn’t try to be happy, he just was.”
Tom and Barbra could have turned bitter, they could have forsaken their values and their faith – and the example set by Zane – and they could have chosen to blame everything else around them for his loss.
But as Tom shared at the funeral, “We’re going through some tough times, but it just depends on how you look at it. You can see his death as a tragedy or his life as a gift; that gives us comfort and makes us very proud.”
In her December 2000 column, Barbra wrote, “Zane was a gift of inspiration to me. He was my only son. He made his transition to a heavenly life in June of this year. It has taken courage for me to face the days since then, but I have a rich reservoir of his loving and courageous spirit to draw from.”
Zane left a deep reservoir. Maybe not quite the perfect child, his parents couldn’t think of anything he’d done wrong. Inducted into the National Honor Society and a straight-A student, he was a football and basketball star at Brenham High School.
Being the son of a horse trainer, Zane loved the ranch and the horses too, but sports were his first love. In fact, it was a chronically sore knee that kept getting in the way of playing that led to the diagnosis of his disease.
He loved people most of all. Each time he went into the hospital, he spent most of his time encouraging others. Five- and six-year old patients loved for Zane to hold their hands during treatment, read them stories or dazzle them with his bag of tricks (which he made his mother pack each time).
“Everyone wanted to be his nurse,” Barbra said. “They had scheduling problems when Zane was at MDA because all the kids wanted their treatment the same time he was there.”
Margaret Pearson, a doctor’s assistant at MDA, said at Zane’s funeral, “He had a contagious optimism. Zane never saw obstacles, he only saw goals.”
Whenever Zane came home, he arranged trips with his friends, went to ball games, and spent time with his dogs. And he didn’t bring any of his problems along with him. People felt better after they had talked to Zane. If he could be positive about his problems, then most others didn’t seem so big.
Tom recounted a story of how, before he had cancer, Zane befriended a new kid at school. When Zane saw the newcomer sitting alone, he made the effort to sit next to him and invite him into the group.
At Zane’s funeral, all of his friends and family shared countless tales of the times he had inspired them or lifted them up. He was not a selfish life.
For the last seven years, Barbra has dedicated herself to teaching others how to be better. It really doesn’t matter what they do, she helps them to learn to keep a positive attitude, learn from their mistakes and, most importantly, have fun.
A professional cutting trainer since 1982, Barbra grew up the daughter of horse trader Cletus Hulling in southern Illinois. With 400-500 horses on the place, each of the five kids had a string of ponies and horses to ride, train, and sell. Barbra showed from elementary school through college as a way to help market the family’s horses.
With a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology and audiology from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, she left horses for a time to pursue a Master’s degree in the same field at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. She worked as Administrator of Speech and Auditory Skill Development at the Arizona State School for the Deaf and Blind in Phoenix, Arizona, before working as an instructor training teachers for the deaf at the University of Arizona. She finished up her first career as the head of speech pathology for Okanogan Home Health Care in Okanogan, Washington, in 1982.
Along the way, her sister Tootie introduced her to a tall, basketball coach named Tom Schulte. Not being a horse person, after they were married Tom still supported Barbra’s return to training and eventually joined her in developing their business, the Center for Equestrian Performance.
From 1982, Barbra kept a full barn of 10-40 horses and coached amateurs to various national titles. She didn’t only coach, she could ride. She was the first woman to win the Augusta Cutting Futurity in Augusta, Georgia; the National Cutting Horse Association Super Stakes Classic in Fort Worth; and the NCHA Derby in Fort Worth.
Then she picked up a book entitled Mental Toughness Training for Sports, and her whole life changed. Barbra knew she enjoyed training horses and coaching amateurs, but she wasn’t sure that was what she wanted to do forever.
On day, Tom noticed in the paper that the author of the book, Dr. James Loehr of LGE Sports Sciences, Inc., was going to hold a clinic in Orlando, Florida. From the book, Barbra had found that LGE was one of the top mental trainers of Olympic athletes and business executives, and they were looking to branch out into other disciplines.
“Prior to reading the book,” Barbra said, “I noticed that the best horse didn’t always win. So much of a run depended on the person showing the horse. After reading the book, I took a risk. I sent all of the horses home and decided to become certified.”
Once she had received the training, the problem was blending the theories she had learned at LGE with the infinitely technical sport of cutting. Plus, she had to get the information to the people that needed it most.
Starting with local clinics, Barbra and Tom have grown their business to include video and audio tape series, appearances on syndicated radio and television programs, and national and international clinics. She’s written one book, Cutting, One Run at a Time, with a second on the way. National equestrian magazines have used her as a source for multiple stories on being better mentally prepared for competition.
Now, Barbra presents one or two clinics a year, and she’s gone back to training 8 to 10 horses at a time. She takes amateurs who have goals similar to hers, riders who want to have fun along with success.
“Over time, I’ve learned what works for me,” Barbra reflected. “I love to train, show, teach.”
The Best Lesson
One of the paramount foundations of all of Barbra’s professional training is turning negatives into positives. As you look into their eyes, you know that, through the hurt, Barbra and Tom truly feel blessed for the 16 years they had with Zane.
“Perhaps telling the story will inspire others,” Barbra said. “Telling and writing about it gives his struggle more meaning, and it comforts me.”
“It’s changed the way I live my life. I’ve become more spiritual, and I will forever be more compassionate and emphatic. But most of all, it’s given me the courage to live what’s right.”
Ironically, the greatest lesson Barbra learned wasn’t in a book, it was in an example.
By Jim Bret Campbell