It’s a bird … it’s a plane … it’s Superwoman Suzette Simon. Suzette is Superwoman every time she attends one of her chemotherapy appointments dressed in head-to-toe Superwoman gear. The outfit gives her inspiration and lets others know that she is a Master of Cancer Badassery. Like so many New Yorkers, she was diagnosed with cancer during the global health pandemic and soon after she became a member of Red Door Community.
In January of this year Suzette was diagnosed with Stage1B/Stage2 ER+ and HER2 breast cancer and in April she had a bilateral mastectomy. Today she is undergoing TC chemotherapy and attending a Red Door Community weekly virtual support group.
The group meets via Zoom and brings together a mix of newly diagnosed and more experienced members allowing all to share a range and variety of common issues. “Everyone shares their own thoughts on living with cancer and in the present tense. I gained a vocabulary, through this group, to talk about my own experience/journey … and also greater empathy,” Suzette said.
She was inspired in part by her participation at Red Door Community and also by the great Gilda Radner to take a different approach to living with cancer, one that includes comedy. Gilda once said, “Cancer is probably the most unfunny thing in the world, but I’m a comedian, and even cancer couldn’t stop me from seeing the humor in what I went through.” If you have the opportunity to speak with Suzette for even a few minutes, you’ll see this spirit of Gilda Radner is alive in her.
“Now that I’m currently battling breast cancer, I have been using laughter to help in my healing process and bring another side, a lighter side, of the experience to others who are impacted by cancer, as well,” Suzette said recently.
Suzette created the #STRONGBLACKBOOBS initiative as a place for others to go for breast cancer information based on her experiences, comedy, self-esteem boosters and support for communities of color. After losing her mother to breast cancer 30 years ago and then being diagnosed herself she has made it her goal to use this comedic, empowering approach on social media to raise awareness for communities of color and breast health.
Red Door Community is proud to have Suzette in our community, and we look forward to following her journey. In Suzette’s own words, “I hope that being a cancer badass might shake things up and save lives … I hope we can all find something to learn and laugh at together!”