For the final week of my appeal for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer I wanted to introduce a longtime friend of mine, someone I believe to be a pioneer in the car business and just a really great person Susan Ianni, wife, mother, retired Dealer Executive Manager of 30 years, golf club owner and Wedding planner extraordinaire! Just three short years ago Susan was on the other side of this campaign collecting funds for her store in the Detroit market, today she’s starting a new journey Breast Cancer Warrior!
Susan’s journey started 38 years ago working in dealerships taking a turn in almost every position in a dealership. Along the way she was blessed with 5 kids and multiple side businesses. Susan was always healthy and willing to try just about anything. As an example, can you imagine strapping on a set of skis for the first time on the Swiss Matterhorn and then getting to the top and realizing that it might be a bit more difficult than she thought, but she made it down and that’s a story for another day!
As Susan’s side business grew and became more than just a side hustle, she had to make a career decision and went full on into her Golf Course and Wedding venue. Leaving the auto business and a thriving dealership was not easy but Susan was excited to move on to her own journey. As she usually did it was time for her to do her yearly exam and almost one year from the day after retiring, she was diagnosed with breast cancer! Susan had been doing regular mammograms with great results for years, but she had put off the last one because as she says “I was busy...” then after getting it done was told that she had two cancerous tumors!
Now Susan was no stranger to cancer, her grandchild had gone through a two-year battle with leukemia, so she knew that this was not going to be easy, but she knew that it could be stalled, pushed back, maybe even into remission. Besides her grandchild, there was no family history of cancer. What blew Susan away was that there’s no such thing as just “breast cancer.” There are four main types and then multiple variants within each. As she discussed her plan of action with her doctors Susan chose a mastectomy.
When she went in for the operation and went into recovery she thought “OK, now on to the next step, but unfortunately when you have this type of surgery you must wait for the pathology results, and when they came back, there was more cancer to get out and she required a second surgery. During the recovery of this surgery, she had another complication and needed a third surgery, this all happened over the past two months! Susan is now recovering from her last surgery and hospital stay and will be planning for her reconstructive process in 2024.
As Susan is early on in her journey, she has realized a couple of important points and steps a long life’s path - DO NOT put off regular exams you’re not that busy! 10 years ago, this may have been a death sentence - now it is just a long road. Like Michele DeLuca from last week, Susan talks about the need for better healthcare for all. She believes that education for better lifestyle choices are critical, as an example better access to organic food at reasonable prices. She believes that access to this healthcare and research will all make a difference. Susan also believes that through programs like Making Strides Against Breast Cancer your donations will help drive this research and knowledge that can lead to a cure within the next 10 years!
In the meantime, this diagnosis has changed her lifestyle, not just her diet it has totally turned her upside down and as Susan said, “it takes a bit to get back up - but when you do you are better and stronger.” Her Cancer battle has thrown her so many surprises but it will keep her on a path to living and staying healthy but she now knows that the battle never ends.
If your ever in the Whitmore Lake, MI area stop by the Rolling Meadows Golf Course and say hello to Susan. Now don’t go looking for her in an office you won’t find her, you’ll have to look for her on the course, in the barn or behind the bar one thing for sure - Cancer will not take Susan, she’s way to busy for it to keep up!
Road to Recovery
Get a ride to cancer treatment!
Everyday thousands of cancer patients need a ride to treatment, but some may not have a way to get there. The American Cancer Society Road To Recovery® program provides transportation to and from treatment for people with cancer who do not have a ride or are unable to drive themselves.
How does the program work? Depending on your individual needs and what’s available in your area, we may be able to coordinate a ride with an American Cancer Society volunteer driver. Patients must be traveling to a cancer-related medical appointment.
To learn more about getting a ride to treatment or becoming a driver click here.
Lodging During Treatment
For cancer patients, getting the right treatment sometimes requires traveling away from home. Lodging expenses can present a significant financial barrier to receiving lifesaving treatment, and financial barriers are known to contribute to disparities in cancer outcomes. The American Cancer Society helps remove that financial barrier through our Hope Lodge® program, lodging grants to local healthcare system partners, and a partnership with Extended Stay America.
To find a Hope Lodge or learn more about lodging resources click here.
Your support allows the American Cancer Society to continue:
Fighting breast cancer in city halls, statehouses, and Congress by elevating the patient voice to advance policy change through the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN)
Ensuring no one feels alone at any point on their breast cancer journey, from prevention to survivorship, and, for some, the end of life.
Investing in breakthrough science to find more - and better - treatments, uncover factors that may cause breast cancer, and improve patients' quality of life.
Ensuring that all people have a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive breast cancer. ACS and ACS CAN believe all people should have a fair and just opportunity to live a longer, healthier life free from cancer regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live.