18 Aug

Sue’s triumphant finish

Tomorrow Sue’s son (my husband), her step-daughters, and her best friends will follow Sue’s footprints. They are walking in the Twin Cities 60-mile 3 Day for the Cure. In doing so, they not only honor her memory, but they have also brought us $18,000 closer to fighting Sue’s killer, breast cancer.

Sue was a 9-year breast cancer survivor before it made its way into her liver 4 years ago, advancing from worrisome to terminal. But she didn’t spend those last years focusing on the possibility of death. As a matter of fact, it made her all the more determined to stay positive and focus on life. She had a lot of faith in the continual developments of cancer research, and her plan was simply to stay one step ahead of the cancer.

That’s why the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure was so important to her. She worked on the crew, and she walked herself—60 miles on chemo, mind you—TWICE. She hosted hugely successful fundraisers for the cause, inspired survivors as a public speaker at its events, and even stood proudly as an honored walker in its opening ceremonies.

In her own way, Sue helped raise the money to give herself a few more years, months, days. And if you know how much she could squeeze into a day, you know that’s a lot of living. In those last 4 years alone, she ran a company; managed the care of her stroke-recovering husband; participated in the 3 Day; acted in community theater; and traveled to England, Spain, Maine, Catalina, Mexico, San Fran, San Diego, Seattle (nearly quarterly, to see us), Florida, and Bali—and those are just the things I can remember off the top of my head. Cancer research kept her alive to enjoy all those experiences and more.

But most of all, as her friend Judy put it at a recent theater event in Sue’s honor:

You may not think your cancer donations amount to anything, but Sue was able to stay alive long enough to meet her granddaughter Szaba (my daughter). Though Szaba and Sue’s lives only overlapped five months, the light in Sue’s eyes when she beheld Szaba was incomparable. Sue beat cancer in that moment—and it was thanks to her own efforts … and now the efforts of her children and friends as well.

I am so incredibly proud of them all, and I will be there front and center every step of the way, standing sorrowfully and joyfully alongside the granddaughter who never knew Sue and the 91-year-old mother who mourns her every day.

Thank you for making a difference, Sue. And thank you for inspiring all of us to follow your lead.

Do you continue to be inspired by someone who’s passed? If so, please share his or her story with me. With your permission, I’d love to include it as a guest post on this blog.

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15 Responses to “Footprints”


  1. St. John Souvenirs « My Castle Heart - January 30, 2012

    […] Someday I hope to make necklace pendants out of a couple of them for me, Szaba, my sisters-in-law, and a couple of Sue’s friends (who became my friends while preparing for last year’s 3 Day). […]

  2. The Real Enemy: Breast Cancer « My Castle Heart - February 6, 2012

    […] let politics keep you from supporting them. At the heart of Komen are the millions of daughters, sons, mothers, sisters, husbands, and friends who are grieving and participating in a Komen fund-raising […]

  3. 3 Day « My Castle Heart - August 10, 2012

    […] Sue told me about her involvement in the 3 Day years ago, I was proud of her, but I didn’t truly “get […]

  4. In Loving Memory « My Castle Heart - August 10, 2012

    […] Categories About Sue, Castle Heart Book, Grief, Inspiration Footprints → […]

  5. The Book Walk « My Castle Heart - August 10, 2012

    […] I know my idea has the power to do that. This will be my “walk.” […]

  6. “The List” « My Castle Heart - August 10, 2012

    […] I will participate in a 3 Day. […]

  7. Booby Trap « My Castle Heart - August 10, 2012

    […] days. The way everyone felt like it happened so “quickly” despite the reality that she endured years upon years of invasive treatments and unthinkable pain. And of course, her veiled personal […]

  8. When It Rains, It Pours « My Castle Heart - August 10, 2012

    […] jack-o-lantern, and costume all come along with Sue, smiling (and for the first time visibly ill) in their […]

  9. 3 Days with Shirley « My Castle Heart - August 27, 2012

    […] Footprints: Sue’s legacy and how she fought (and some might say even beat) her own cancer. […]

  10. Inspiring Minds: Bruce Lee « My Castle Heart - November 7, 2012

    […] not rich; to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly; to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await occasions, hurry never. In other words, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow […]

  11. Inspiring Minds: Jamie Lee Curtis « My Castle Heart - November 14, 2012

    […] people see even your flaws as part of your beauty. I always marveled about that in Sue. Even at her sickest, I never once heard her ask someone not to take her picture or claim that she looked awful. As a […]

  12. Giving Thanks « My Castle Heart - November 21, 2012

    […] Sue: For overfilling my soul with love, inspiration, joy, and memories. For making me a better person through your example. […]

  13. Best Friends « My Castle Heart - December 3, 2012

    […] event the most fun you’ve ever had. Everyone was welcome to join her at her parties, in her 3 Day walks, and in her […]

  14. Locks of Love « My Castle Heart - December 10, 2012

    […] Have you ever considered donating to Locks of Love? It’s a non-profit that gathers hair donations to make wigs for kids who don’t have their own, due to illness (commonly cancer). […]

  15. Breast Cancer Awareness | My Castle Heart - October 24, 2013

    […] that adds fire to my anger over Sue’s death. Unlike my grandmother, Sue was able to live nine full, happy years after her original […]

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