by Brian Garvey ’20
“My name is Susan Adler and I am a two-time breast cancer survivor.” Those who attended Colleges Against Cancer’s Breast Cancer Buffet in McPhail’s on Tuesday, October 18, witnessed a remarkable and incredibly uplifting speaker in Susan Adler.
Speaking for almost an hour, Adler gave a heart-wrenching and heartwarming account of her fight with cancer, and described in great detail how she coped with the ravages of cancer. Through humor, unshakable positivity, and her love for her family, the Yankees, and Barbra Streisand, Adler revealed what it means to be a survivor.
Krysta Taylor ’18, who ran the event, said, “This event has been going on since before I was a part of Colleges Against Cancer. I think it’s important to show her message because it really shows you how to stay positive and keep moving forward through tough situations in your life.”
Many students initially expected a lighthearted event of Jersey Mike’s Subs and trivia, but were treated to a story of true perseverance. Matt Mazzella ’20, a student who witnessed her recollection, said, “I thought it was interesting that she said cancer was the best thing that ever happened to her. It taught her to fight, and to never take no for an answer. I think everyone could learn a lot from her positivity, not just about cancer, but about body image and self-confidence.”
Adler’s message about cancer being “the best thing that ever happened to her” initially visibly startlied many people in the crowd. This turned out to be true, however, as it proved to her that she could do anything she set her mind to. In fact, the day after she gave her speech, Adler climbed a mountain in New Hampshire. By showing that cancer cannot stop her from climbing mountains, both literal and metaphorical, she inspired her listeners to not give up the fight.
One of the most striking things about the event was the turnout. Every seat in McPhail’s was filled, and more people came in as her story unfolded. Ryan Gallahue ’20 said, “I thought it was really cool how many people were there. I think that the fact that such a terrible thing as breast cancer can be turned into such a strong message with such a strong support network speaks volumes about the resilience of the fighters and survivors.”
Adler also moved many in the crowd when focusing on the love for her family and her description of their unwavering loyalty.
Ryan Mongno ’20, a committee chair of Colleges Against Cancer, said, “This event really reveals the fight against cancer and its actual impact on a person. I think it’s great for breast cancer awareness, and it’s a great message for those who are fighting cancer or have important people in their lives fighting cancer, because it shows one person who the fight, showing that they can win the fight as well.”
What’s next for Colleges Against Cancer? “We have No-shave November coming up to show support for cancer fighters and survivors, as well as plenty of preparation for Relay for Life in the spring,” said Taylor. As shown by this powerful event and exceptionally motivational speaker, Colleges Against Cancer is doing many things to raise awareness and spread a positive message about the fight against cancer.