Shonda graduated from Towson State College majoring in journalism, member of the Iota Delta chapter of Zeta Tau Alpha. She worked in television production for Home Team Sports in Baltimore until marrying Curt Schilling in 1992. They have four children: Gehrig (5/27/95); Gabriella (5/22/97); Grant (10/13/99); and Garrison (6/27/02). The family resides in Medfield, Massachusetts.
Schilling was diagnosed with stage 2 malignant melanoma in February 2001. A total of five surgeries left 25 scars crisscrossing her back, arms, legs and chest. The media picked up on her skin cancer scare during the 2001 World Series, when her husband Curt won the World Series co-MVP honor for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Her story was featured in People Magazine, Glamour, Family Circle, Pregnancy, Good Housekeeping and ABC's "The View." Shonda invited Good Morning America into the operating room to witness her fifth and final surgery in order to inspire others to have their skin checked and to alter their sun habits. In 2002, she accepted the Melanoma Monday national spokeswoman role with the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD). An overwhelming response from fellow melanoma survivors resulted in Shonda creating the Shade Foundation of America.
Shade Foundation of America
Shonda Schilling founded the Shade Foundation of America in 2002 with the goal of changing society's attitude towards sun exposure. The wife of major league baseball pitcher Curt Schilling, she has traveled all over the United States promoting sun-safety awareness.
Schilling’s dedication to promote sun safety has been expressed through many partnerships and appearances. In 2003, the Shade Foundation joined with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to launch the annual SunWise Poster Contest in conjunction with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Arizona Department of Health to implement sun-safety curriculum in schools. Schilling testified before the Arizona state legislatures in an effort to help pass the current law requiring schools to teach the SunWise curriculum in the state of Arizona. The launch of this partnership was heard by 20 million people through media exposure and hundreds of school principals across the country signed up to teach the SunWise program in their classrooms. Thousands of kids have learned skin cancer prevention techniques through the program by drawing a SunWise poster for the contest. When the Schillings were relocated to Boston, Shonda partnered the program with the Dana Faber Cancer Institute in Massachusetts where it continues to result in overwhelming success.
Schilling aligned the Shade Foundation with Major League Baseball and the Play it Smart When it Comes to the Sun Program in 2005, generating awareness in MLB Parks around the country and at the MLB All-Star Game in Detroit. The program continues to reach millions of Americans with a sun-safety message through media appearances with Geraldo At Large, Women's World Magazine among other local channels across the country.
Since 2005, Schilling has participated in running the Boston Marathon every year to raise money for the Shade Foundation. She also ran the PF Chang's Rock N Roll Marathon in 2005 on behalf of the Shade Foundation.
Schilling’s involvement with the Shade Foundation has garnered intense media attention since its inception. The Schilling family appeared in a public service print advertisement promoting sun-safety in Sports Illustrated's popular swimsuit issue as well as a television PSA that aired in New England and around the country. Through all of Schilling’s hard work, she has been recognized for her commitment to the community and promoting sun safety numerous times. Shade’s partnership with the EPA earned Shonda and the Shade Foundation the "Excellence in Cancer Awareness" award in 2003 from the Congressional Families Program of the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation in Washington, DC. That same year, she was presented with the Girl Scout World of Humanity Award by the Arizona Cactus- Pine Girl Scout Council and in her honor they created the Shade Badge for scouts to earn. Also in 2003, Shonda accepted the Outstanding Fundraiser Award by the Association of Professional Fundraisers.
She was recognized nationally with the Speaker Thomas J. "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. Award for Public Service by the Greater Boston Federal Executive Board in 2004. That same year, the American Academy of Dermatology acknowledged Shonda's awareness efforts with an individual achievement Gold Triangle Award. She was also given the Alumni of the Year Award from Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. In 2005, Schilling picked up an honorary doctorate degree in public service from Framingham State College. She was also presented with the exceptional women's award for community service by Boston radio station Magic 106.7. Merrimack College gave Shonda an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2006 and that same year she was awarded the Lady Baden Powell Good Scout Award by the Boston Minuteman Council. Schilling continues to serve as a commencement speaker at high school and college graduations.
The Wellness Community-Greater Boston recognized Schilling with the 2007 Gilda Radner Award as an individual who demonstrated courage, determination and hope in the face of cancer. She was named host of Facing Cancer Together, a television program produced by the Wellness Community which aired on cable stations around the country. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association presented her with the 2007 Partners in Prevention "Making a Difference" Award during the 11th Annual MIAA Wellness Summit held in Milford, MA.
Work with the ALS Association
Shonda and Curt have been active with the [ALS Association] since 1992 in developing public awareness and fundraising campaigns to improve the services of the ALS Association. Both have appeared in numerous public service announcements featuring Curt's Pitch'n to Win campaign that joins the ALS Association and Shaw's Supermarkets in which people can donate $1.38 or $3.38 to benefit the ALS Association. Together they have donated and raised more than $9 million for ALS. Shonda serves on the Board of Directors for the Philadelphia, Arizona and Massachusetts chapters. She represents ALS at numerous functions including lobbying in Washington D.C. for government funding and before the Food and Drug Administration to get the first trial drugs approved. Shonda regularly visits ALS patients, their family members and caregivers, and is involved in helping with a variety of events associated with ALS.
She chaired the "The Shonda Schilling Say It with Flowers" Luncheon in Arizona which raised more than $250,000 spanning three years (2002–04). When the Schillings relocated to Boston, Shonda and Dawn Timlin, wife of Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin, implemented the “Say it with Flowers” campaign in the Boston area which raises over $200,000 annually to benefit the ALS.
The Schilling family participated in ALSA's National ALS Awareness Month public service announcement in 2004 and received the “Telly Award” for excellence in a national television commercial. Schilling and her husband received the 2002 Catfish Hunt Award from the North Carolina Chapter of the ALS Association and she was also presented the All-Star Award by ALSA. In 2001, ALS Association National Office presented Shonda with the Lawrence A. RAND Award recognizing her nationally for continued service and dedication.
Shonda and Curt have a son with Asperger's Syndrome (Grant) which has been a struggle for many years, but as Shonda describes in her book, "The Best Kind Of Different" it has been well worth it. Shonda has partnered with The Asperger's Association of New England (AANE) and Autism Speaks Also has done some work with Youth Care.