“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it.” -C.C. Scott
This year’s recipient of the Thanks to You for Giving Foundation 2011 Founder’s Award exemplified this attitude in every aspect of her life. Tonight, however, we honor the unwavering perseverance, raw confidence, and radiating inner beauty this special woman gracefully exhibited during the greatest challenge of her life – the fight to live it.
Susan Marie (McCullen) Rupp’s battle began in June 2002 when she experienced a few common ailments, such as abdominal swelling, urinary changes, and other subtle factors that are generally disregarded by most women. After many tests, scans, and exams, her doctors returned with an answer. A complete shock, no one was prepared for what came next. Susan and her family received the crippling news that she had Stage IV Ovarian Cancer, and the prognosis was not good – her cancer was beyond any feasible medical help and she was only given a few months to live.
Unwilling to accept a predetermined outcome, Susan rallied from within and decided she was not going to give up that easily, not without a fight. She simply was not done living yet. Thus, the search began for one of the nation’s top specialists that would actually give this underdog a chance to prove the statistics wrong. Susan underwent tumor debulking surgeries, a complete hysterectomy, and months of chemotherapy to remove and attack the masses that invaded her body.
Susan faced everyday of her new challenge with the faith, hope, and determination that she would win this tremendous battle. She continued about her life with an optimistic spirit and her trademark smile for over six years, experiencing many joys and fulfilling countless milestones along the way. She defied all medical odds – routine checkups came back “clear” and she reached the five-year remission mark.
Almost two years later, in October 2009, disguised initially as a backache that lingered, Susan’s cancer returned, despite her vigilant efforts. The severity of this vengeful recurrence was overwhelming – the cancer had metastasized to numerous locations. Round two of chemotherapy quickly began, with radiation added to the mix, but the disease continued to spread unabated throughout her waning body.
Susan continued to live each day with insurmountable courage and strength, never allowing a smile to vanish from her face. Yet again, she was determined to win. Sadly, Susan lost her battle against Ovarian Cancer on July 30, 2010 at the age of 52.
Through the Susan Marie Rupp Foundation, founded in September 2010, Susan’s family, friends, and community are continuing to demonstrate her “Fight Cancer” attitude by raising awareness of Ovarian Cancer, educating women on the symptoms, and raising money for research in the hope that within our lifetimes others will not have to face the loss of a treasured loved one to this “silent killer.”
Lovingly dedicated by the “Thanks to You for Giving Foundation”