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Meet FRÉ Ambassador Jill Schumacher, Physician’s Assistant and Runner

by Jude Jacob Kayton June 01, 2020

Meet FRÉ Ambassador Jill Schumacher, Physician’s Assistant and Runner



About me: I was born in Nashau, New Hampshire, and now live in Annapolis, Maryland. I’ve been a Physician’s Assistant for 13 years and was recently redeployed to work in the hospital due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m a runner and a Six Star Finisher of the World MarathonMajors.

"Living in an impoverished country heavily impacted by the HIV crisis gave me a strong desire to choose medicine as a career path."

Choosing my career path

I have been a Physician’s Assistant for 13 years. I was in emergency medicine for the first 5 years as a PA and then orthopedics for the past 8 years. I treat sports related injuries, such as fractures and sprains. I grew up in South Africa and knew from an early age what I wanted to do with my life. Living in an impoverished country heavily impacted by the HIV crisis gave me a strong desire to choose medicine as a career path. Today I do a lot of medical mission work in South Africa and South America.


Being redeployed to the Corona frontlines

When the pandemic hit, they closed down our clinics and halted all elective surgeries. We were given the option of being furloughed or volunteering for redeployment. Several of us volunteered and were transferred to be hospital employees.


The hospital physicians have kindly trained us in hospital medicine. Currently I am treating patients with a variety of medical conditions such as strokes, pneumonia or heart failure. I am not working in the ICU with COVID positive patients, but some of my patients test positive for the virus. I don’t anticipate that my job will return to normal for some time and we are currently waiting to see if there will be another resurgence now that things are starting to open back up. On the positive side, there has been a decrease in our ICU volume from patients testing positive for COVID-19.


Staying resilient

I’m a runner and this is something I’ve always done for myself. It keeps me mentally healthy and gives me time to get away and clear my head. I can finally breathe without wearing a mask. I also like to watch comedic television, even if it’s something I’m re-watching.  I try to focus on self-care by pampering myself with hot baths and facial masks whenever I can.


Becoming a runner

After I graduated PA school, a nurse friend of mine asked me to do a triathlon with her. I wasn’t physically active at the time but she convinced me to sign up. At the time, I really did not know what I had signed up for! I hadn’t researched what a triathlon was when I agreed to do it with her. Later when I looked into it, I realized I had to run, swim and bike, and I didn’t even own a bike! I decided not to waste my $80 registration fee so I began training, bought a wetsuit and a bike. I always joke that I ended up spending $5000 to save $80, but it was worth it.

I was slow when I finished my first triathlon, but it felt good to be active. After the triathlon, I did a half marathon and then a full marathon a year later; I really fell in love with running. I’ve now finished a total of 23 marathons and a few ultra-marathons as well. My first marathon was the Chicago Marathon. When I was there, I saw an advertisement for the World Marathon Majors. Itold my husband that I wanted to do all of them and I slowly checked off each one. I am not a naturally fast runner, so I knew I had my work cut out for me with the Boston Marathon. Through a lot of hard work and dedication, I eventually qualified for Boston and ran it in 2018. I was proud to become a Six Star Finisher in Boston that year (completing all six marathons). There are only 6,150 Six Star Finishers in the world. I’m now an Ambassador for the World Marathon Majors - helping others compete.


Running for Achilles International

My husband is a US Army veteran. Unfortunately, he lost his right leg in combat while deployed to Afghanistan in 2009.The Achilles International team visited him in hospital and asked if he wanted to complete a marathon. He had no idea how it would be possible, but they had a hand cranked bike ready for him and they encouraged him every step of the way. Shortly after his injury, he finished the Chicago Marathon all because of the support he received through Achilles. Achilles is an amazing organization that empowers individuals to compete in races regardless of their disabilities. I wanted to thank this organization and give back for all they did for my husband, so I decided to run the 2020 NYC Marathon as a charity runner and raise money for this organization. My goal is to raise $5000.


"When I get home I shower, wash my face and apply I AM LOVE, which instantly soothes my skin and gets rid of the redness from wearing a mask for 12 hours."

My skin challenges

I AM LOVE has worked wonders on my skin during this time. As a healthcare professional, I have to wear N95 masks and headgear that is cumbersome and makes it hard to breathe. The chemicals from the mask also irritate skin. When I get home I shower, wash my face and apply I AM LOVE, which instantly soothes my skin and gets rid of the redness from wearing a mask for 12 hours. I also love GLOW ME. I used to wear makeup to work but now it rubs off on my mask so I wear GLOW ME instead for moisture and a tint.


As a runner I love the DETOX ME mask. I can’t wait to sweat so I can put the mask on!

It’s such a treat and is very hydrating.



Rapid Fire:

  •           Favorite exercise?  Running
  •           What does sweat mean to you?  Time to refresh and recharge
  •           What comes to mind when you think of FRÉ?  DETOX ME; that was              my first product and what made me love the products so much                  because of what it did for my skin
  •           What are you most excited about in life right now?  Spending more                  time with my golden retriever Zoe
  •           What’s something you’d still love to learn?  Another language
  •           If you were a hashtag, what would you be?  #littlegirlbigdreams - I’m            small but I have BIG dreams
  •           What is your mantra?  I love this quote from Oiselle: “There is no                  secret, keep going”.
  •           What is an issue that you wish we spoke about more often?  Ahmaud           Arbery, a black man, was shot and killed while running in February           of this year. We often shy away from topics regarding racism, but               it's essential that we address these issues, have a conversation                 and educate ourselves. I wish issues like this were spoken about               more often.
  •           What does women’s empowerment mean in 2020?  Supporting each              other and understanding one another.
  •           What's your dream for the FRE community?  I love the tree planting              campaigns and would love to see more of this. I also love that FRE            supports causes like Every Mother Counts



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