Susie Quaid – … a person of character

CONSIDERING, it has been 10 years since she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and she has turned this trial into a ministry. She encourages others undergoing cancer treatment through gifts of spiritual books and bookmarks. “It’s important to focus on the positive. Someone always has it worse than you do. Always.”

CONSIDERING, five years after she was treated for cancer, her 38-year-old daughter Ali was diagnosed. “I had wondered why I had gotten cancer. Five years later, I got my answer. Ali thanked me because she would have never started mammograms so early had I not gone through it myself.”

CONSIDERING, she and her family always participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, held this year on March 2 in Baton Rouge. “You really don’t think about it until that day—you are a survivor. You have fought the toughest battle. When you are handed that rose at the end, you think, ‘We are some tough people who have made it.’ ”

CONSIDERING, she has a passion for music and song, which has been an important part of her life since she was a girl. While Ali was going through chemotherapy, she helped produce a musical at Ali’s children’s school. She taught 50 children show tunes and choreography, and produced a musical. Her favorites? “Down by the old mill stream,” “Heart of my heart” and “Five-foot-two.” “I don’t want those songs to go by the wayside.”

CONSIDERING, she has since produced a musical at University Lab School for Grandparents’ Day involving her daughter Amy’s children and 600 other youth. “My father always played the piano. He said that I sang before I could talk. For me, music is the answer to everything.”

CONSIDERING, she has been married to Tommy for 45 years, has three children and six grandchildren. She relishes her family members’ triumphs, including son Jeb’s recent commercial—which he wrote and helped orchestrate—featured during the Super Bowl. “I am just so thankful to have lived through cancer to experience these special moments.”

CONSIDERING, she claims that her illness has made her more centered. A fast-action person by nature, she now slows down to knit more and to cook more. She takes walks. “I’m still busy. But it’s a busyness that I want to do.”

CONSIDERING, she encourages others to get through the tough times by taking each challenge moment-by-moment. “I have learned that we are all so much tougher than we think we are. It is only in the dark that we see the stars.”

Editor Ashley Gordon nominates a person of character from the Baton Rouge community each month. [email protected]