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A Mother’s Legacy of Support for Childhood Cancer Research

Sep 10, 2021 5:00 P

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time for special focus on the children who are diagnosed with and who are fighting cancer. As a mother who has worked at a cancer center for more than 17 years, my awareness and worry that one of my children would face cancer was always in the background. It remained a constant, nagging worry that at times spoke more loudly to me—especially as I witnessed firsthand the bravery and resilience of children as they have battled cancer. Every parent can relate to this fear.

One of the first people I met when I began working at Huntsman was a mother who had lost her dear child to cancer. Although 20 years had elapsed between that loss and our introduction, her pain was still as raw as the day her girl passed. Her daughter was a golden girl from California. She was a surfer, a BYU athlete, and a cherished daughter and sister. I met her mother when she made a transformational gift to Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) in excess of $2 million for research to improve treatments in sarcoma. We have remained friends ever since. Each year she has continued to give support to sarcoma research and also to melanoma research.

Yesterday, I received a call I knew was coming. My friend had passed away. She was in her 90s. I spoke for a long time with her surviving daughter. We reminisced and laughed. We shared some sad and also happy tears. And her daughter let me know that once again, HCI would be the recipient of a very generous financial gift. It would help us to continue our work in sarcoma research.

Sarcoma is a very challenging childhood cancer and much remains to be done to improve the odds for future children who will receive this devastating diagnosis. Thank you, my friend, for helping to improve those odds. I will miss you very much.

Susan Sheehan
President and COO
Huntsman Cancer Foundation

Susan Sheehan

President and COO, Huntsman Cancer Foundation