Growing up in an NFL family helped Marnie Schneider tackle life’s biggest challenges
by Grace Kennedy
photography provided by Marnie Schneider
Clockwise: Susan Spencer with Marnie and grandchildren Goldie, Leo and Jonathan.
Marnie participating in the 2019 Charlotte Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
Susan Spencer was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018. sk Marnie Schneider how she handles the responsibility of being a single mom of three teenagers and the primary caregiver for her mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, and she will go straight to a sports metaphor. Given her family history, it makes sense.
She’s the granddaughter of Philadelphia Eagles owner Leonard Tose, and the daughter of Susan Tose Spencer, who made history in 1983 as the first female vice president, legal counsel, and general manager in the National Football League.
“I speak in sports,” says Schneider, who grew up traveling around the country with the Eagles as the only child of an NFL general manager. When her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2018, Schneider’s unique upbringing helped her rise to the occasion. First she wrote a game plan. Then she assembled the right team.
“I’m lucky that I’ve got great doctors, great cheerleaders, and great friends on my team,” says Schneider, who shares her Mooresville home with her mother and her three children, Jonathan, a college freshman; Goldie, a senior at Davidson Day; and Leo, a sophomore at Lake Norman High School.
Giving back is in her DNA
Even with a full plate, Schneider made sure her game plan involved giving back. She had every excuse to focus on her own family’s challenges, but helping others is in Schneider’s DNA. Her grandfather founded Ronald McDonald House, and her mother created A Level Playing Field Foundation, which supports football programs in disadvantaged schools. Schneider herself founded the Keep
on Playing Foundation, which helps underserved children learn confidence, leadership, and teamwork through sports.
When Alzheimer’s disease affected her family, Schneider was determined to use the challenge to make a difference for other families walking the same road. She reached out to the Alzheimer’s Association - Western Carolina Chapter, and became an advocate for the organization’s mission to accelerate global research, drive risk reduction and early detection, and maximize quality care and support.
Susan Spencer used to say to Eagles players, “If you aren’t adding value, why show up?” It’s a guiding question for her daughter, who strives to add value to everything she does.
A record-breaking walk
And helping the Alzheimer’s Association is no exception. In 2019, Schneider helped the Charlotte Walk to End Alzheimer’s meet its largest fundraising goal in history.
To recognize her commitment to helping families affected by the disease, the Alzheimer’s Association - Western Carolina
Marnie and Susan Spencer, who served as the first female vice president, legal counsel and general manager of the NFL.
Chapter will honor Schneider with the 2020 Award of Excellence at the Charlotte Memory Gala on August 29.
“Marnie is a tremendous caregiver for her mother and goes above and beyond in raising awareness about and critical funding for Alzheimer’s disease,” says
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Schneider’s position as her mother’s primary caregiver gives her firsthand knowledge of how Alzheimer’s affects entire families. “Right now, there are so many things that are either red or blue, but Alzheimer’s is purple. It impacts every community. It doesn’t discriminate,” says Schneider. “My mom is not going to be cured but it is my intention to help find a cure for other people.”
In the absence of a cure for her own mother, Schneider focuses on cherishing every moment they share. “I know I will never get this time back,” she says.
Charlotte Memory Gala Benefiting the Alzheimer’s Association - Western Carolina Chapter The Westin Charlotte Saturday, Aug. 29, 6-11 p.m. Tickets and details at charlottememorygala.org.
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A Model Contestant
Meet Ryder, the 2020 CURRENTS Canine Cover Dog Winner
by Renee Roberson
Gayle Shomer Photography
ricolored Pembroke Welsh Corgi truly rides in style around Lake Norman and has also garnered gigs as a canine ambassador for pet products. The furry best friend of Rachel Howard from Mooresville, Ryder is this year’s CURRENTS Canine Cover Dog Winner. We recently checked in with Howard to learn more about their relationship and how she and Ryder spend most days.
What are some of your favorite things about Ryder? Can you give us an overview
of his personality? It is very hard to pick some of my favorite things about Ryder because I love everything about him, but I love the way he loves me, his sense of adventure, his playful or silly behaviors, and his intelligence.
His personality is very outgoing. He loves adventure, loves the beach, loves jeep rides, and loves to snuggle. I feel like the best way we highlight his personality is through his Instagram. Since day one he has always loved to pose for the camera. It seems to almost be like he knows what facial expression he wants to have for that specific picture, it’s kind of hysterical!
What are some traits of his breed that you can see
in Ryder? Corgis are bred to herd. He loves to herd us and other dogs when he is playing. He is very energetic and quick to learn tricks; Corgis are known for their intelligence and athletic abilities. We all know that Corgis are known for shedding, well, we enjoy all the corgi glitter he spreads!
What activities do you like to participate in with Ryder in
the LKN area? Well, of course we love a good dog photo contest. We have competed and won several! We enjoy cruising in the jeep looking for great places to photograph Ryder for his Instagram page. Also paddle boarding is one of my favorite water sports so we definitely enjoy this as well.
How big of a part does Ryder play on your social
media accounts? Social media is a HUGE part of our life with Ryder. He personally has an Instagram page @ thelowryder. We have made a ton of special friends that we have made in our time on Instagram. Currently Ryder is a model for @pup_yeah_apparel, @mooseandlulus, and @ dapperdexter. We love all dog accessories and show them off as much as possible.
Do you have any other pets?
Yes, we actually have another pup named Lily, she is a rescued terrier mix that has been with us for about 6 years and we love her so much. She is just a little more timid and camera shy but sweet as can be.
What is a day in the life of
Ryder like? Play, play, play. Ryder is an active dog and he needs all the exercise he can get. We love going on walks in the park, play dates with other dog friends, swimming in the pool, playing fetch, and after a long hard day of playing its time to sleep—Ryder loves his sleep!
Are there any pet stores, boutiques, dog parks, dogfriendly establishments that you’d like to give a shout-out
to? Our absolute favorite dog boutique is Wagamuffins in downtown Mooresville. We have definitely gained a special bond with our friends at Shop Wags. Ryder also loves to go to Petsmart. They are always very friendly and helpful. I would love to give a special shout-out to Mooresville Animal Hospital for taking care of Ryder and keeping him happy and healthy. The last shout-out definitely is going to Lake Norman Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. I bought my Purple 2017 Jeep Wrangler from Willie Brown and they have always welcomed Ryder at the dealership and let him hang out while my Jeep is being serviced and cleaned.