Suddenly, Susan

Faces of project1979 returns with a trailblazer!

First thing on the brain today: Susan. I haven’t technically interviewed her and might not get the chance but since it is my blog I get to bend the rules 🙂

Here’s a mention of her lovely self back in January:

Susan came to Rome after I had done project1979 with Diego Quintano of DieStille (you can watch the video here:project1979 )

A little over a year ago I ran into my friend  while hiking Snow King (local ski hill) a few days before a show. She had been out of town for work and was excited about coming to the show. She didn’t come but I didn’t too much about it. A week or so later, on a break from work some people were talking about their friend Susan, about her diagnosis. It took me awhile to understand that they were discussing Susan. Chills. Prognosis: not good.  Lung cancer.

(Susan is a non-smoker, super climber, ski chick who is the epitome of healthy living, P.S.)

Who knew that she’d have traveled to Patagonia and Nepal during this amazing year, while working and dealing with chemo during?

Just to give you an idea of the kind of person Susan is, while in Europe I got an email from Susan that went like this:

On Jul 2, 2012, at 2:10 PM, susu wrote:

> Morning!
> Here is my current general plan
> Fly into Zurich and see Springsteen on 9th.  Head towards French alps to see mtn stage of Tour.  Then free.
> Will fill time with trek around blanc and then Dolomites.
> Time in Italy a must.
> How long are you there?  Where else will you be?
> S

Little did I know that Susan’s cancer was going strong and had spread to her ovaries.

When she surprised me in Rome (after she had been fiercely climbing mountain faces in France and Italy) we had a great night walking around Trastevere and talking about life. As we sat by the banks of the Tiber, she told me about being bold, going for what is really important, not wasting time. We talked about trusting our guts (she had suspected that she had had a tumor on her ovary but he doctor had discouraged her from taking it out: it was malignant when she returned from Nepal to have emergency surgery to remove it). I listened and felt grateful that she’d taken such a long trip just to hang out for an evening.

In the morning, I was off to Abruzzo to perform in a festival, she was so sweet and eager to see me perform and I was stoked that she was willing to come!

But in the end she and I didn’t meet up. Between bad phone reception, missed connections and not great transport between Rome and Abruzzo, Susan didn’t make it to my show. I still felt honored that she came so close and made the effort.

Little did I know that this whole time she’d been battling a lot of pain and yet still wanting to travel at length to support a friend. This is the kind of person Susan is.

A few weeks later I received this email:

Hi everyone!
Hope you are all well and enjoying everyday!

I am in Europe right now doing a little climbing and some hiking
When I would visualize the chemo fighting the cancer
I would envision green valleys with waterfalls and flowers taking its place
It is what the Val de Veny looks like
Fortunate to be here…

Most of you know the change in my diagnosis as of this May.
Stage IV ovarian.  Not lung cancer.
The outlook is better…20% better.

Please see my story 

Many of you know that I have been wanting to do some sort of fundraising
but many of you advised that I look after myself, first.
Good thing I didn’t do anything since i had a diagnosis change!!

please consider donating to support ovarian cancer research
While I climb for life on September 14th.
Donations go to 

Now we’re back in the same town together but I still haven’t seen her. She’s back on chemo and it’s been rough to say the least.

When I woke up today I was thinking of how many people cross my paths every day who are silent about being amazing. Susan deserves this meager spotlight because just knowing her and seeing her bravery in action is making me take this one day I have very seriously (and with a smile).

I share her story with you today with joy and I hope that it inspires you all in some way.

2 Responses to “Suddenly, Susan”
  1. project1979 says:

    Reblogged this on project1979 and commented:

    Please! This woman needs your thoughts/prayers as she is battling tonight to get out from under the grips of ovarian cancer.

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  1. […] Dishing Magazine on the life of one of the main hubs of my “hometown”. Featuring the late Susan Garlow, a wonderful supporter and friend of project1979 and former Jackson […]

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