Susan soon assumed the role as Dan’s nurse in their home, monitoring medications, administering IV fluids, and ensuring his well-being. One year into Dan’s diagnosis, a nurse connected them with the charity “For Pete’s Sake.” The entire family took an all-expense paid vacation to Disneyworld where they were able to make wonderful memories before Dan’s death in 2012 at age 38. Susan remembers being so grateful for the trip they took to Disney, as it enabled her and her children to hold on to those happy memories of Dan. In his memory, “Dan’s Down Dog and Dash” yoga and 5k charity race was set up, and in its inaugural year 600 people participated to celebrate Dan’s life. Susan described Dan as upbeat and active, always “living life to the fullest,” which became the motto for the charity.
After her husband’s death, Susan decided she wanted a rewarding job that she could love, and knew she was going to pursue nursing. When asked about the first time she felt like a nurse, Susan fondly recalled her first patient encounter at clinical with a woman who had also lost her husband to cancer at age 38. In that moment Susan knew she was on the right path, and exactly where she was meant to be.
Upon graduation in July, Susan hopes to ultimately pursue a career as an oncology nurse providing the same skilled and compassionate care to her patients that her husband received. No matter where she ends up, she knows that her Villanova education has prepared her well. Susan firmly believes that, “Villanova has been and continues to be a pivotal part of who I am. The friends and professors that I have met over my years as a Villanova student have been a part of our family celebrations, supported us through our challenging days and allowed me the opportunity to pursue my dream.”