In our first post from InspireHealth we meet a cancer survivor who turned her experience into a call to action by designing sassy jewellery.
We’re posting monthly blogs from our favourite integrative cancer care clinic, InspireHealth. This month we hear about a patient who was inspired to create a public education campaign that has already raised more than $100,000 for InspireHealth! Here’s her story.
“Big battles need big words and living with cancer demands courage, self-awareness, and that secret source of power—a sense of humour!” These savvy and insightful words were spoken by Susan Fiedler, a cancer survivor and a patient of InspireHealth.
Susan was a designer and the owner of a very successful jewellery business. Like so many of us, she was married to her work, and being constantly stressed out was a normal part of her daily life. In retrospect, she didn’t know what she was missing. One day, with her energy depleted, she ended up in her doctor’s office hearing the words “you have cancer.” Cancer had been the furthest thing from her mind, and the diagnosis was shocking. Susan was told she had stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and to tie up loose ends because the prognosis was poor.
Susan first sought out integrative care when her radiation treatment left her feeling “wiped out.” She discovered InspireHealth, where she was able to get practical information, support, and guidance that helped with her recovery. What Susan learned had a profound influence on how she chose to live her life going forward. It was a transforming experience!
As a professional jewellery designer who had created pieces for Sarah McLachlan, The Barenaked Ladies, and even the Rolling Stones, Susan wanted to create something for herself to express what she had been through—something she could wear instead of a plastic wristband.
Believe it or not, “F*** Cancer” was the first phrase that came to mind. Susan said that the strong language worked for her, not because it was shocking or obscene, but because it was honest, sassy, and funny. The phrase “F*** Cancer” meant that cancer hadn’t killed the rebellious, daring part of her, and once she started wearing the bracelet, everyone wanted one. People loved the design combined with the raw emotion of the statement—they “got it” right away.
From the initial bracelet that Susan created for herself as a personal emblem of empowerment, the F Cancer Embrace Life initiative was born. Through this initiative, Susan turned her experience into a call to action, and found a meaningful way to raise funds for InspireHealth and empower others in their own journeys through cancer.
For more information, visit the F Cancer Embrace Life website.