Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Legacy of Sue Michener

When I think of writing a tribute to Sue Michener, whose home was in Illinois, I get a little nervous. It isn't because she was an adoring mother and grandmother to her son and his daughter. It isn't because she had a career as a computer support technician (although, Lord knows, I could have used her advice since computers seem to blow up or catch fire when in my company.) Nor is it because she loved to knit or cross-stitch. It's just that . . . Sue wore the funniest shoes.

In addition to all of her other talents, Sue was born a comedienne. Tricia K., Sue's friend, who is herself a five-year survivor of breast cancer, recalls that Sue "kept us all entertained while undergoing chemo, radiation, etc."

Sue posted frequently on the Komen for the Cure message boards. There, it is customary for members to include details of their diagnosis and treatment status in their signatures. But, Sue's sense of humor persisted in her messages right down to the last letter, and she signed off with the line, "recent Mammo...No new if I could just find my BRAIN...I'd be in business."

Tricia remarks that Sue was not only a dear friend to her, but also a "positive force in my life" and in the lives of many others. In fact, the affection felt for Sue so permeates the Komen forums that the members have made their own tribute of sorts, by arranging a page of "Classic 'Sue Michener' Posts." One of her messages -- about pizza, of all things -- had me in stitches.
SO, the phone rings, and it’s my ‘pizza guy’ calling to tell me that THEY ARE OUT OF WHAT I ORDERED.


HOW can a pizza place be OUT OF PIZZA? Have the planets become mis-aligned when I wasn’t looking? Did someone play the numbers engraved on the hatch in LOST for lottery numbers? OUT OF PIZZA?

I had to sit down.
Sue's "Shortage of Pizza" story is only one example of the way she sought to lift the spirits of her kindred breast cancer family, despite her own suffering. Make your way on over to Komen for the Cure, become a member, and click on this link to read about Sue's indomitable spirit in her own words.

Sadly, Sue passed away in August of 2008, at age fifty-two, only two years after her initial diagnosis. Though Sue's legacy continues to make us smile, the loss of her life and the ensuing absence of joy she brought into the lives of others has been devastating to all who knew her. She is yet another example of the hundreds of thousands of people from around the world who are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, all of whom demonstrate why finding a cure for this disease is so very critical.

So, to Sue Michener, whose legacy of comedy and kindness in the face of adversity remains vivid in the memories of those who love her: tomorrow, I'd like to borrow the shoes you left behind. I already know I cannot wear them, as they are affixed with the wings of angels. But, I will carry them with me as I run, confident that your comedic spirit will fly me to the finish line. There, we will chuckle about Kramer, pizza and mammograms.

For Sue . . . Here's to the next mile!


  1. Thank you!

    What a wonderful tribute to Sue and I'm sure she'll be smiling down from the Heavens to know she brought fun and laughter to so many of her bc sister's:)

    Tricia K

  2. What a beautiful tribute to one who touched our hearts and our funny bones when we needed it most. Thanks you Chris, and THANK YOU Sue; wings of angels on your shoes for your walk!
    Love Ruth

  3. Sue was SO inspirational to us all! She showed us, that even in the midst of this dreadful disease...and sometimes theeven MORE dreadful treatments...that life could still be, well, FUN! When I was feeling bad from treatments, I would sit and laugh until I cried reading Sue's posts! She most certainly had the secret to life....that was LIVING it while you still could! She is missed but never forgotten. She was much loved and much missed.

    Jeanne S

  4. Gee how I miss her....she was an AMAZING gal that was also among the driving force in my treatment as was as the rest of the gals replying here.
    I smile as I write this with a sad heart but happy she'll be waiting for me when I arrive....Love you you Sue!!

    -Ronda King <3

  5. Sue was one of the first women to reach out to me on the Komen boards when I was first diagnosed. She always had a helpful comment and words of support to offer when I most needed to hear something positive. I miss her very much.

  6. I also met Sue on the Komen board. She certainly added some humor to a sometimes sad place. Sue was definitely a delight. I also looked forward to reading what she had to say on a given day. RIP. Denise

  7. what a wonderful tribute. I never met Sue in person but did eagerly look for her posts on Komen.

  8. Sadly, Sue's journey was ending as mine was beginning, but I have gone back and read her posts and she speaks to me still. She, along with the others who have posted here and those who have not, were an inspiration and source of strength when I thought I had none. For that I am forever grateful. RIP.
    Pat Patterson

  9. To Sue!!!!

    Cindy Berrier

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