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Making a Difference for Today and Tomorrow


In 1999, Sue Lord’s husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. Thirteen days later, she lost him to the disease.

Sue and her family were devastated, and she couldn’t believe that cancer could take someone so suddenly. “I needed to do something,” she said.

Knowing about the American Cancer Society and thinking it was a good organization, she became a Society volunteer. It wasn’t until she got involved that she realized all that the organization does.

“People recognize the brand name, but they don’t always know how they are making an impact,” said Sue. Once she learned the full scope of what the American Cancer Society is doing to save lives, she became even more enthusiastic about being a volunteer.

Sue’s favorite volunteer role is with her local Relay For Life® event – an event that takes place in more than 5,200 communities to celebrate people who have survived cancer, remember loved ones lost, and raise dollars and awareness to fight back against the disease. To her, it’s about seeing the survivors walk around the track, honoring and remembering loved ones, and coming together as a community to make a difference.

“At the end of the Luminaria Ceremony, I’ve seen young kids standing around bags, crying, and I realized those bags are for parents. No one should have to go through that,” she said.

Sue’s dedication as a Society volunteer doesn’t end with the Relay For Life movement. She has served in several roles, including being the 2009 chair for her local Relay event’s Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) enrollment. CPS-3 is the American Cancer Society’s third prevention study, and it will help the Society better understand how to prevent cancer.

“It’s going to be a groundbreaking study,” she said. “There are potential causes [of cancer] we don’t know about yet. It will give a backdrop to help prevent cancer for future generations.”

In 2012, Sue was diagnosed with adenocarcinoma of the sinus, a very rare form of sinus cancer. She used several Society services during her cancer journey, including the Hope Lodge® program, which provides free lodging to adult patients and caregivers when treatment is away from home.

The program was a blessing to her because she went through 7 weeks of treatment at a facility that was more than 80 miles away. “Imagine [the cost of] getting a hotel for 7 weeks,” she said.

That same year, Sue received her area’s Hope Award, which reminded her that as a volunteer, she is making a difference.

“Without volunteers, the Society couldn’t do what it does,” she said, thanking all of the dedicated volunteers she works with.

Her passion for and belief in the American Cancer Society’s mission keeps her motivated. She knows that she is making an impact, and that there’s more progress to be made.

“Cancer is not an easy disease; it’s complicated. If it was easy, someone would have figured it out a long time ago,” Sue said, hoping that her grandchildren and great grandchildren will have cures in their lifetime.