Owen Schumacher loved A’Shanda Daniels. Loved the way her face glowed without a hint of makeup. Loved her dedication to teaching children about music. Loved her fascination with professional wrestling, and the way her voice could hit the highest of notes.
Schumacher will never forget A’Shanda and all of those things that made her unique in his eyes. They are qualities, he hopes, will be remembered in the form of an endowed scholarship for music education. The Long Beach State University alum is in the midst of raising the needed $25,000 for the scholarship that will aid future music majors and carry on A’Shanda’s memory. He so far has raised $7,000. To donate, visit the donor page.
A’Shanda, a vocal/chorale major at Long Beach State, died in 2016 after a three-year battle with cancer, ending their relationship but not their love story. Owen tears up when recounting her final days.
“We fought, fought and fought until we couldn’t fight anymore,” Owen said. “We did it together because we wouldn’t do it any other way, you know.”
The two first met in 2002 when his sister, Holly, introduced them. For Owen, the attraction was instant. The first date came roughly six months later, the stepping off point for their 12-year relationship.
“We lived life together. We had fun. We talked and talked and talked,” Schumacher said. “We loved each other. We enjoyed each other. We did normal things a couple does.”
That was until A’Shanda was diagnosed with breast cancer, which eventually spread to other organs. Her doctor said the biopsy showed the cancer was between Stage 3 and 4. Still, A’Shanda continued to teach music at Perry Lindsey Academy in Long Beach.
Despite the dire diagnosis, the couple refused to give up. They tried chemotherapy, drugs, remedies and any new option that came along.
“We were such fighters, so it wasn’t in our vocabulary to think of it any other way than we are going to get through this,” Schumacher said. “Giving up wasn’t in A’Shanda’s vocabulary. It wasn’t in mine.”
A’Shanda’s fighting spirit is what keeps Schumacher working towards endowing the perpetual scholarship that will be designated for music education or voice students who exhibit a financial need and have the determination to pursue a music degree.
Schumacher said A’Shanda possessed a perfect pitch and sang in many chorale groups. But her desire to pass on her music to a new generation led her to get her teaching credential after graduating from LBSU in 2005. She taught music at a Long Beach middle school.