Sue Brain Cancer Fundraiser

I am starting this GoFundMe because I have a good friend that was diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC).  She happens to be pretty much fully against making her fight vs cancer more public.  Which is her prerogative, it is honorable (in a certain way) to want to go it alone as much as possible--and I've tried to be as respectful of that as possible.  Knowing she would be against a GoFundMe, I asked anyway if she would be open to me/us doing this.  I believe what I asked verbatim was, "Would you hate me if I started a GoFundMe!?" to which the simple answer received was, "Yup!"  And she wasn't joking.  She probably would have punched me in the jaw full force if I did a GoFundMe without her permission... Fortunately her awesome daughter and nurse also brought up GoFundMe and Sue opened up a little bit to the idea.  After all, she has to pay out of pocket until she pays $6000.  Which is a good goal amount to try to raise here.  So here I am, unfortunately crafting this to post to GoFundMe.  Sue is a private person of which I feel quite privileged to be part of her inner circle, so I want to talk a little bit about her here. Sue.  Sue Bobb.  My whole family calls her "The Sue Bobb".  It just works as a title for some reason, ha.  She's been a dear friend to me and the family for 15 years or so.  She has never once hesitated to help with anything since I've known her... and NEVER expects anything in return.  As you may or may not know my dad was diagnosed with ALS in 2014... and Sue has just always been there.  She has shown up to the ALS walks, donated to my dad's GoFundMe and other ALS (and dad) fundraisers, has come to the ALS benefits, and perhaps most important of all to my dad... has sent him literally cases of Thin Mints in Girl Scout season.  You send my dad chocolate mint cookies in bulk and you're stamping your Buzby passport for life, just sayin'.  Always a giver and never a taker.  Never someone to give up - always a fighter.  Things haven't always been easy for her but she has persevered in an extraordinary way.  She has a will to win sewn into her DNA; there is a certain unmatched tenacity to her.  She felt like something was wrong and was (eventually; explained later) diagnosed with cancer, but talking to her you won't find this as a complete life shake-up to Sue.  There is no "woe is me" attitude... that is NOT her deal.  And she's been diagnosed with cancer!   She sees it as just another challenge that she will get through where she rolls up her proverbial sleeves and does what needs to be done to beat it.  Tears and worry are not what she wants.  She inherently knows she will beat this - pretty awesome to have that type of resilient attitude. This isn't a call for a pity party, but are some of the facts to her situation:  she is a single mom to a really great daughter, Tara.  She is a US Air Force veteran and still serves in the reserves.  Some people have asked me if she is in the Air Force then why does she have to pay out of pocket at all?  This is a valid question.  She is not on active duty at present so her medical expenses are not covered by military health insurance (called Tricare) any longer. The timeline to cancer diagnosis here is fairly short -- she noticed a pain in her armpit/at the edge of her chest towards the end of 2019 and got a mammogram on 7 December 2019.  It showed no abnormalities, but the symptoms got worse through December.  She got an ultrasound on 26 December which ruled it as an infection, but was told to follow up to exclude "the less likely inflammatory breast cancer."  On 31 December, the breast surgeon ruled out inflammatory breast cancer.  Symptoms persisted.  On 7 January 2020 the breast surgeon ordered a biopsy for suspected lymphoma.  Biopsy results came back 16 January and showed breast cancer cells in axillary (armpit) lymph nodes.  This caused more radiology testing to happen.  Still no tumor in breast.  Although previously ruled out, she was diagnosed with IBC by the oncologist on 24 January.  IBC is a clinical diagnosis and cannot be determined by a particular test.  Sue had not yet developed all the symptoms which is why it was initially ruled out. According to the American Cancer Society, IBC is rare and accounts for only 1-5% of all breast cancers.  Although it is often a type of invasive ductal carcinoma, it differs from other types of breast cancer in its symptoms, outlook, and treatment.  IBC has symptoms of inflammation like swelling and redness, but infection or injury do not cause IBC or the symptoms.  IBC symptoms are caused by cancer cells blocking lymph vessels in the skin causing the breast to look "inflamed". You can read fully about IBC here:  (thank you American Cancer Society) One of the scariest things about IBC is that it doesn't look like typical breast cancer.  It does not cause a lump in the breast and may not show up on a mammogram, which makes it tough to diagnose.  It is also a more aggressive cancer--it grows and spreads much more quickly--than more common types of breast cancer.  Because IBC involves the skin, it starts as a Stage III cancer and can quickly move to Stage IV.  It was caught early, fortunately, and Sue immediately started chemotherapy.  Unfortunately the treatment by itself is expensive and she has to pay $6000 out of pocket before her healthcare kicks in.  She has been fitted for a wig (fortunately that expense is covered by cancer charity), as the type of chemo she is undergoing results in 100% hair loss.  She is tired more often than not from the chemo but is happy (relatively speaking) that she is only encountering fatigue rather than the vomiting and other stomach issues others get.  I mean, she gets TIRED... but this girl... continues to go to work (which involves driving an hour to Hamilton station, taking the train to, and then walking through, NYC... and do it in reverse order at the end of the day).  To her, she has a job.  She is a hard worker that will go to work if she can.  Cancer is merely an obstacle.  It will not define her.  She won't even give it the chance to describe her.   Going at this alone was fairly unacceptable to me.  I hoped she would come around to at least give people the chance to assist if they wanted to, and I'm so very glad she relented... even if just a tad. Sue is extremely dear to me and our family and if you are so moved, donations here are so very much appreciated.  If you do not want to donate here, please contact me separately and we will figure it out for sure. If you have any words of encouragement, please post them here for her to read.  If you talk or text with her, talk to her like you normally do - she is still Sue!  No pity party vibes!  :-) Smiling while getting her head buzzed - what a champ! Thank you so very much for reading and for your consideration towards this cause.


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Kevin Buzby 
Mount Laurel, NJ
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