Parenting through Diagnosis and Recurrence

Parenting through Diagnosis and Recurrence

In 2016, I was a champion ultra-runner, yet I was given three months to live with a Chordoma tumor wrapped around my brain stem. Our children were 10 and 12. We chose to be really open with our kids and our friends (while keeping some details private) even before we had a treatment plan.

We learned to face the fears head on. And we learned how to talk with our children about living and dying. I also had to learn how to ask for help and how to raise money. When I did ask, I was shocked by how many of our friends thanked US. With their urging, I started the Brave over Perfect blog on www.susierinehart.com, which led to a TEDx talk, and a book deal. My memoir, Fierce Joy, came out in 2019. It’s about facing the unknown, plus how we talked to our children, engaged our community, and raised funds. It also talks about healing, rediscovering yourself, and becoming a warrior in a new way. In each section of the book I offer a series of takeaways―lessons learned when life forced me to slow down and step back. I mention the book here in case it could be helpful to you or someone you love.

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Mindee Plugues

Member

Mindee J. Plugues, of Los Angeles, CA, is vice president, marketing for the Applebee’s brand and brings skills including brand strategy, executive leadership, and marketing to the board. Plugues has been an ABTA donor since April 2001, following her father’s passing from GBM. She is also a former member of the ABTA endurance program, Team Breakthrough.

Bob Kruchten

Member

Bob Kruchten, of Mount Prospect, IL, is a sales manager at Extreme Reach, a leading advertising technology company. He has strong skills in communications and fundraising, and has been advocating for the ABTA for 19 years in tribute to his best friend, Paul Fabbri, who lost his 10-year battle with GBM in 1998. Kruchten accepted the ABTA’s Joel A. Gingras Jr. Award in 2015 on behalf of the Paul Fabbri Memorial Fund.