The Thirty-first Annual Susan Fund reception took place on Sunday, June 24th at the Unitarian Church in Westport. There was a feeling of electricity in the air as the families of the thirty-seven recipients gathered to meet other students and to be awarded their scholarships. Attendees have often commented that they feel a visceral connection with each other knowing that they are with people who understand them and who have traveled on similar journeys.
Ann Lloyd, Chair of The Susan Fund, welcomed all attendees and reflected that The Board was delighted to have awarded thirty-seven scholarships in 2012; this represents the most recipients in the history of The Fund. Susan’s brother, David, shared many wonderful memories of her. Jeff Keith, Founder and CEO of The CT Challenge and past Susan Fund scholarship recipient was the next speaker. He has been instrumental in forming a strong, supportive relationship between his organization and The Susan Fund. Jeff introduced members of The 2011 Susan Fund Bicycling Team, Christine Canapetti, Lauren Pade and Dylan Pape. Each of them described the elation they felt having participated in this event. Board member, Kathy DiGiovanna, presented the scholarships. She noted, “Our recipients study, work and give back to their community through their volunteer activities. They are truly amazing. Their lives are a tribute to Susan Davis Lloyd for whom The Fund was established. Although her desire to attend college was never realized, her dream is carried on by these wonderful scholars.”
Jackson Connor, a four time Susan Fund Scholarship Recipient, wrote the following about the reception. Most days I try my best to not think about cancer. Though I am over four years removed from my treatment and, for all intents and purposes, healthy, the wounds can still feel oddly fresh. It is often easier to ignore how cancer has affected me – and how it continues to affect millions of others – than face the fact that life has become irrevocably different since my diagnosis, that the world is not quite as safe as I once thought. To have been young and sick can often feel like a lonely sentence, like cancer is your cross to bear and no one else’s. I’ve been lucky enough these past few years to haveThe Susan Fund to remind me that this is not the case. Each summer The Susan Fund’s reception forces me to think about cancer, not only in terms of my own experience, but how it pertains to the world around me.
This year in particular I was struck by how conflicted I felt at the ceremony. While it pains me deeply to see that others my age have had to suffer from this disease, it’s incredibly comforting to know there exists a group of people who understand you on a level that the outside world cannot. To see how my peers have not only overcome their obstacles, but also by all indications thrived and flourished in spite of them, makes me extremely proud to be in their company.