Face of the Race: Susan Hilton

Who’s the serene lady in pink you’ve been seeing on posters and bus sides for the June 3 Komen Puget Sound Race for the Cure?

Her name is Susan Hilton, and you’ll be seeing her in person at the 25th anniversary Race on Sunday, June 3 at Seattle Center.

Susan is a seven-year breast cancer survivor and self-described power walker who has attended almost every local Race and 3-Day in recent years. At Race, her favorite activity is the survivor parade (reimagined as the More Than Pink March for 2018).

Susan has ties to Tacoma and Gig Harbor, but for many years, she worked as a supervisor for TSA at the Portland airport. Now, she and her husband are retired and living near Portland.

Why does Susan stay involved with Komen? She describes herself as eternally grateful for being connected with a navigator within three hours of being diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma. The navigator, Annette, was a great listener and counselor who helped Susan come to terms with her diagnosis, as well as her treatment and reconstruction options.

With the navigator’s help, Susan selected a care team. Then, Annette connected Susan with people who could provide scarfs, hats, bras and information on life beyond breast cancer – people she’s still friends with today.

Susan says that at the time of her diagnosis, she’d been under a lot of stress at work, had no family nearby, and saw her husband only on weekends. “I felt so indebted to this warm, helpful and skilled navigator at the hospital,” Susan said. “I went by to see her many times during my tests, treatments and fittings at the center, and I’m so thankful! Because of this, at age 69 I am not just surviving but thriving.”

“I want to share information about this option – patient navigation – with anyone who may be going through a similar situation,” Susan said. “I’ve had many people gravitate towards me with their concerns for loved ones or themselves. I hope to be a positive voice and reinforcement for those affected by this disease.”

To join Susan and thousands of breast cancer survivors, patients, co-survivors and advocates at Race for the Cure, please register on the Race website.