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Published on October 13, 2015

Suzie - Breast Cancer Survivor

Suzie - Breast Cancer Survivor - 1 in 8

"I’ve been playing roller derby for the Billings Roller Derby Dames for six years. I started playing after a friend told me that it’s a tough girl sport, and I ...thought, ‘that’s the sport for me.’ I’m the oldest person on my derby team, but derby really has no age.

In April, I broke my ankle, and I was forced to take two months off from derby. I had just gotten a note from my doctor finally clearing me to play. I was so excited to compete again, but unfortunately, my excitement didn't last. That same week I'd found a lump on my breast. It was cancer.

Because I’m fairly young and in good shape, my doctors and I decided to treat my cancer very aggressively using chemotherapy and radiation. Chemo makes me feel like I am falling apart. I’m active. I’m athletic. But chemo makes it hard for me to even stay on my feet.

Reaching out for help is not easy for someone who is so independent, and I’m fiercely independent. But in derby we have what is called a Derby Wife. Each player has one. My derby wife has rallied the team around me. They take my dogs for walks. They bring me meals. They clean my house. They’ve been unbelievable.

Roller derby is an aggressive sport and the only two requirements are physical and mental toughness; skating is the easy part. But sometimes it takes things like this – things like cancer – to really kick you in the butt. It’s redefined toughness for me. I do a lot of praying now. I have a lot of faith. That is what strength is to me now. That is toughness. I am ‪#‎1in8‬."


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