It was a crisp October morning in New Mexico and Susan Carter was shopping for solar eclipse glasses. “An eclipse changes our behavior,” she told me. And she wanted the women she works with to experience it.
Susan was one of the founding employees at the Susan G. Komen foundation. She created the pink ribbon that adorns our chests each October. She lit the pyramids in Egypt pink to show that breast cancer has no boundaries. And she had a front-row seat in the global movement to reduce the stigma surrounding breast cancer.
She says, “It’s the thing I’m most proud of.”
“Women hid back then.” she says. “You didn’t tell people because they would think differently of you.” Potential sponsors slammed their doors in her face, saying, “Why would we want to be associated with death and dying?” Just five years later, the Susan G. Komen foundation was their official charity for practicing breast self-exams.
Susan hid her alcohol use for years, full of shame, remorse, and guilt. Then, she heard another woman talk about her struggles with alcohol and she thought, “She's telling my story." Susan followed a friend to AA and says, "My life unfolded beyond my wildest imagination by being in recovery and living a life with like-minded people on a similar path.” She is now living her life’s purpose.
Susan found out about SHE RECOVERS® – an incredible organization that helps hundreds of thousands of women with mental health issues, trauma, substance use, and related life challenges – from a friend. She went to an event and saw hundreds of women in a ballroom with their hands outstretched, joyously celebrating being in recovery. It took her back to when she brought breast cancer survivors together. She told SHE RECOVERS® founders Dawn Nickel and Taryn Strong, “You’re on the precipice of a grassroots movement.” And they asked her to help grow the organization.
In June, Susan stepped down as CEO, and now provides peer support at a treatment center in New Mexico. She’s grateful for her journey and open about her story because she knows the only way to break down stigma and shame is to talk about it. “We’re all recovering from something.” she says. “No one should have to recover alone.”
Without recovery, the amazing things Susan accomplished wouldn't have been possible. This Giving Tuesday, you have the opportunity to help people like Susan find recovery.
When you support Shatterproof, you change lives.