As a rider for Team Troy, I am proud to be a part of this inspirational social movement. In some capacity, Cancer has affected so many of our lives, or lives of those we hold dear.
I am proud and humbled to ride for Susan, Bill, Victoria, Catherine, along with many more. It is an honor to share a bit of their story with you….
I still remember the very day I met Susan Dalton St. Onge. I believe nearly everyone who has met Susan will remember the first time they met her. She naturally lit up every room she entered. We met in 2001, she was interviewing for a Graduate Office position at Stevens Institute of Technology, and our entire team had the privilege of meeting with her. She was so engaging that a proposed 20-minute meeting lasted an hour!
Susan had an absolute natural way of making all conversations and interactions, well, just, better. She was magnetic to be around. Our team was blessed to work with, and learn from, Susan for three years.
When my daughter was born in 2003, Susan was one of the first visitors at the hospital, bearing Stevens fun gifts to make me laugh. She just knew how to make people feel good. She brought a Stevens onesie and a rubber ducky (the Stevens mascot was a duck!)
This is simply how she was. Full of light, laughter, quick wit – I called it her “Susan Sparkle”. Along with three other colleagues, the five of us formed the Stevens “Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” We met for monthly brunches, dinners and get-togethers. I would do anything for one more Ya-Ya meeting…….
Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. She faced it, like everything else she did in life, - head on and with grace and dignity and an inner strength that made everyone believe that if any would beat cancer she would. A wife and mother of three young children, she was determined to survive.
Double mastectomy, reconstructive surgeries, chemotherapy, she kicked it into remission for 18 months. When it returned, it was even more aggressive. When she thought she could beat it again, the end came quickly and she passed on June 21, 2018 at 49 years old.
The “Susan Sparkle” is alive through so very many. She lives on through her husband, Kevin and their three beautiful daughters Molly, Nora and Ella.
“Morristown Girls: Tracy, Marie-Charlotte & Joanna”
Post-college days and “in the real world”, I was sharing a house with dear friends for years in Morristown, NJ off the legendary Morristown Green. If you are not familiar with Morristown or have never been, you so need to! A wonderful, historical town full of culture and energy in northern-central New Jersey. As roommates and friends, we went through it all - jobs, relationships, money, successes and loss.
Marie Charlotte’s Father - Bill Patterson was born in Newcastle, England. He was the Dean of Ely Cathedral in England, and was awarded the prestigious CBE (Commander of the British Empire) by the Queen of England. He would call our house religiously every Sunday morning to talk to his daughter, (my dear friend and roommate), Marie Charlotte. I used to love hearing them speak and was easy to see how proud he was of Marie and all she was accomplishing as VP/ Marketing at her job. She was always so excited for her Dad’s call. We were all so delighted to meet her parents when they visited Morristown. Bill and Elizabeth Patterson were a beautiful couple full of grace and dignity, and loved hearing about our girl adventures. I loved chatting with them about Wimbledon and my dream to see London. I still remember sitting with Bill on our back deck in Morristown and loving his stories – he was so engaging. As we sat there with our Coronas, I can still see Marie walking out and laughing, “You and my Dad hanging with Coronas?” It was a splendid afternoon and visit!
Bill Patterson was diagnosed with colon cancer that metastasized into lung cancer – he was 71 when he died. He lives on through many, including his three children and nine beautiful grandchildren. I still think of him whenever I have a Corona..:)
Joanna’s Mother In-Law - Victoria Rooney devoted her life to helping and showing compassion to others – every day of her life. It was so easy to see every time you were around her. I enjoyed seeing her at all the family celebrations and birthday parties Kevin and Joanna Rooney had, and always went to all of them, as the entire family was so welcoming and warm. Mrs. Rooney would always chat with my own children, and ask them what was going on in their world. Mrs. Rooney died of breast cancer this past year – she lives on through five children and nine beautiful grandchildren. She was adored by all. Her lifetime message is inspiring and truly what she lived by, “A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.”
The name Catherine “Revered for her courage and purity..” Could not be more perfect. Prior to my move to Georgia, Catherine Sebastian and her family were our dear friends/ next door neighbors for over a decade. That’s more than 10 years of trick or treating, bus stop chats, backyard walks and driveway waves. Six children between us – there is always some drama going on! As my family went through some tough times throughout our move, Cathy was always among the first to say, “What can I do? How can I help?” Cathy never complains about anything going on with her – she is completely selfless. I was shocked and devastated last Spring to hear after a surgical procedure – a malignant tumor had been removed. It was colon cancer. She started chemo and still continued to work hooked up with an infusion pump – she absolutely refused to slow down. I was truly afraid to call and unsure what to say – as Cathy had been the one picking me up for years and had never said anything. Her mindset and demeanor amazed me. She was cheery and strong every day, and even her husband remarked how much all the hospital staff loved her, and couldn’t get over her positive attitude. She was motivated to be released earlier from her surgery and her disposition still amazes me to this day. On January 8, 2019 – Cathy had a second massive surgery with heated chemo to kill any leftover cells. All specimens have come back benign, and she is now undergoing a precautionary chemo treatment. She went back to work as soon as she could, which also amazed me. She is truly her namesake. Her courage is inspiring.