Making Strides: An Interview with Sue (Think Pink)

As many of you know, I am completely passionate about charity fundraising.  I do it.  And I am constantly seeking out people who also fundraise, to try to learn a little bit of their secrets, their magic.

Via Twitter last year I was introduced to Sue Harmon.  Sue is an amazing woman – two time survivor of breast cancer.  Top fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.  Completely committed to living a good clean life, enjoying each moment.  Her tweets keep me motivated, her photos are amazing.

I am fortunate enough to share with you an interview with Sue.  She has raised over $500,000 for the American Cancer Society with her work.  And her goal this year is to add another $80,000 to this total.

As October is breast cancer awareness month, I encourage you to support this amazing cause – through Sue or another person you know who may be taking their first steps and participating in a charity fundraiser like Making Strides.

Sue and her husband Dave, with daughters Molly and Kathryn

DD: October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month… Can you share a little of your story of fighting breast cancer?

SH:  I was first diagnosed in December 1998 and had a recurrence 10 years later in 2008. I was only 32 years old at my first diagnosis, as was my husband. I found a lump during a monthly self-exam (same with detecting my recurrence!). My daughter Kathryn was 3 years old and Molly 6 months old. I had just weaned Molly from breast feeding. That saved my life! So many people came to our side to support us. I knew from the moment I was diagnosed that I would do anything in my power to show my gratitude to all who helped us——by making a difference in fighting this disease, hence my fundraising! I knew I needed to make a difference for my daughters!

DD: Since your diagnosis you have been pretty active in fundraising for breast cancer – can you tell us a little about your efforts?

SH:  I have been involved in the following activities:

  • Annual awareness and fundraising campaign since diagnosis
  • Public Service Announcements
  • TV appearances
  • Community Service—- I run an American Cancer Society/TEAM SUE HARMON booth
  • Newspaper articles

I jump on every opportunity to speak about the importance of annual check ups and screenings.

DD: When did you decide to get involved with the American Cancer Society?

SH:  A friend runs an ACS breast cancer support group in town. The group swooped me up and cared for me from diagnosis. My doctors and nurses also support the ACS and its mission. I also knew that I wanted to make a difference for my daughters. I wanted to do everything in my control to ensure that they don’t have to face cancer in their lifetimes. As a thank you to all who supported me, I started raising awareness and funds about cancer and for the ACS.

DD: You are one of the top individual fundraisers for ACS – do you mind me asking how much you have raised?

SH:  Over $542,000 as of last year’s walk! (Also another $37,000+ for Relay for Life!) This year, I have raised an additional $38,154.00 for the walk on 10/17/10——and that total is climbing!

For many years I have been the #2 fundraiser in the United States for the ACS’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign and I have been the #1 fundraiser in the Eastern Division. It is thanks to my family, friends and donors who make that happen!

DD: Your goal this year is $80,000 in fundraising – how do you plan to reach this?

SH: One dollar at a time! I tell my story to whoever will listen. I have my own web site , I have an ACS fundraising web site , I send emails and letters to everyone I know and use Facebook and Twitter as well.

Over the last few years, I have also raised awareness and funds for the ACS’s Relay for Life event at Hackley School (The school where I have taught for the last 18 years and the school where both of our girls attend.) Some people give to Relay, some to Strides and some to both! My husband, and daughters Kathryn and Molly and family, friends and neighbors help with my campaign each and every year. Last year, our daughter Kathryn as a Freshman at Hackley School (Tarrytown, NY), started her own fundraising team for Relay for Life, GIRLS RULE. The awareness spreading and fundraising itch has affected her too. Our girls have never missed a walk and it is nice to see that they have become activist too!

DD: For those interested in charity fundraising, do you have any tips that you could share?

SH:  Tell your story and speak from your heart. Don’t be shy. Be sure that you explain why your charity is important and why it is or should be important to your donors. Education is at the heart of fundraising. More so than anything, my campaign for the Making Strides walk is to raise awareness about health. I am hopeful that the annual walk and my campaign urges people to go for annual appointments and check ups and have all routine scans and screenings, cancer and not cancer related. We need to make sure that our loved ones live long, healthy lives and annual screenings and check ups are a necessity. My message, know your body, and listen to it……Early detection saves lives. Also, I want people to know that they are not alone. I hope my story and campaign help those who face a cancer diagnosis.

DD: For those interested in showing their support to you, how can they donate?

SH:  How awesome——THANK YOU, Donna! They can visit my web page and press on the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer logo. Simple and secure!

DD: And finally, what goes through your head during the tough moments? Any particular song, mantra, or motivating thought you could share with us?

SH:  Each day is a gift, for all of us. Breathe—- take it all in! And always find time to do the things you love. Family, friends, fun!


One response to “Making Strides: An Interview with Sue (Think Pink)”

  1. I love the article. One of my favorite tweeps interviewing one of my personal friends. 2 great ladies getting together! God bless you both!

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