Thoughts From the Heart

     On Monday, I shared how a cancer journey can make you grow as a person in so many ways.  Today, I want to share the story of a women whose personal growth has touched hundreds of thousands of lives over the past nearly three decades.

Her name is Sue Miller.  She resides in Denver, Colorado; is a wife, mother, grandmother and all around extraordinary woman.  Prior to being diagnosed with breast cancer this beautiful woman was also a fashion model.  However, during the sixties and seventies breast cancer was something that could end your career as a model.  So it was with Sue. 

For almost a decade following her cancer she devoted herself to her family seeing them through to adulthood.   Then one day, she went into a prosthetic shop to be fitted for new prosthetics.  It was a visit that changed her life and the life of many others that know her.   The clerk, seeing what a beautiful woman she was and knowing her history as a fashion model, suggested Sue organize a fashion show specifically spotlighting breast cancer survivors.

Sue shares that she ran from the store absolutely horrified at the thought.  She had felt so ugly following her mastectomies and couldn’t imagine any woman who had experienced breast cancer feeling differently than she had.  However, something clicked in the back of her mind and she began to entertain these thoughts. 

Not long after, she held the first Evening of Caring at a local venue.  The only criteria for being a model was that you had to be a breast cancer survivor.  The response and support was phenomenal.   Evening of Caring became an annual event. 

The first few years it was always in the evening and each survivor modeled evening clothing.  Eventually the evening became a day event and the name was changed to Day of Caring.  Along with the change of time and name came a morning filled with seminars on everything dealing with breast cancer culminating in a wonderful lunch and signature fashion show.  The seminars covered everything from social concerns to the latest in diagnosis and treatment to insurance issues. 

The event was held annually for twenty-five years pulling over a thousand women, spouses, friends and family members in attendance for the last several years.  It was truly a wonderful day of celebration, learning, caring and sharing. 

The event grew to being held in several major cities across the US until in 2006 when Sue retired, the executive director moved away and the event was taken over by CURE magazine.  Day of Caring in Denver is now the magazine’s national annual breast cancer conference.

Never underestimate how much you can be, grow and do because of your cancer journey.  You have changed forever…for the good.  So, embrace the new you and your passion for life!

caring for you,
Carin g Hansen

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