Self-Published Student Donates All Book Sales to St. Jude

Self-Published Student Donates All Book Sales to St. Jude
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

At the age of 20, Collin Schladweiler has already completed 4 half marathons, one full marathon, and has self-published a novel. His novel, Burning Pulse, has been out for six months now and has sold over 150 copies. On top of that, he ran almost all of those races under the sponsorship of St. Jude Children’s Hospital and has donated his book sales to the same cause. St. Jude is one of the world’s leading pediatric institutions that accepts children regardless of whether their family can pay their medical bills. Schladweiler has personally fundraised $1,500 over the past eight months. So how does this college student find inspiration to train and fundraise when we live in a world where most college students only get exercise from playing Pokémon Go? Collin took time after his marathon to chat with me about how he began writing, how he got involved with St. Jude, and how he found the courage to self-publish.

What was the inspiration behind your book, Burning Pulse?

When I began to write it I was in eighth grade, so about six years ago. I needed an outlet to handle rough times with my depression. [It] would come here and there throughout high school. Honestly, I never anticipated an ending to the book, I was always just kind of adding to the story. But at the end of my freshman year of college, I realized I didn’t really need to keep writing it. So I decided to [finish] it.

I’ve also decided to donate all the [book sales] to St. Jude. I could really relate to [the kids] because depression throughout my life has been almost like a cancer. You think it’s gone and then one day you find out it’s not. My main motivation [behind the book] is just showing people that you can overcome [challenges] no matter how small or big.

Has the book been received well?

Yes! I’ve had mostly all positive reviews. I’ve had a few negative ones, mostly because the book was written over six years. It is not that long of a book and so when you start reading it you can see the drastic writing changes. When I was going through the publishing process, I had a publisher who wanted to publish my book. One of the main [critiques] of the book was the grammar. They wanted me to change a lot of it. I had to make some hard calls and hard decisions on whether I wanted to keep the “mistakes” but in the end I just went with my gut. I said I wasn’t going to change anything. I wanted to show the audience how the main character grows up but how I was also growing as an author.

Are you writing anything else right now?

Right now no, I’m taking a break from writing. I still work on some poetry. Other than that I am just focusing on completing my last year of college!

What does writing mean to you?

It has completed shaped who I am. When I first sat down and started writing I realized I could put my energy into a story or a quick poem. It was very therapeutic for me. A lot of people need to find that. Not necessarily a love of writing but something they can really put their time and energy into. I think that it can help a lot of people.

What sparked your interest in St Jude?

When I ran my first half marathon I had met this woman who ran almost the whole race with me. She had mentioned that St. Jude had an amazing sponsor program and that I should apply. Before that point I never really thought about running for charity. But now it really gives me a motivation behind my running. After my book got published I looked back and thought about how crazy it was. I never really thought anyone else would read it, for years it had just been for me. Running was also an activity that had just for me but after seeing the motivation St. Jude had given me I decided to donate all the proceeds from my book. It’s an amazing feeling. I ran my first marathon this summer and when I was struggling on the last mile of that twenty-six I remembered how I had never done anything this hard in my life. But I looked down at the St. Jude jersey I was wearing and thought about the kids out there who were battling situations way worse than mine. They really help me get through a lot of tough times and it’s just amazing knowing that what I do is supporting them.

How does your sponsorship with St. Jude work?

St. Jude’s is an amazing organization, and they sponsor me and my running. They help me get cheaper race fees and in return I fundraise. It’s a really awesome way to work with them. On the individual level, St. Jude’s main goal is to research cures to cancer and to help kids battling it. The money I fundraise helps pays for a child’s medical bill.

Who inspires you?

There’s a lot of people who inspire me. However, my mom has always been there for me. Also a couple of random people I’ve met a long the way.

What’s one thing we don’t know about you?

I secretly really like to sing.

Collin finishing his first marathon earlier in 2016.
Collin finishing his first marathon earlier in 2016.
Collin Schladweiler

Popular in the Community


What's Hot