Suzanne Wedel, MD, chief executive officer and medical director of Boston MedFlight, complained to her husband, Alasdair Conn, MD, about feeling bloated. He advised her to go to her primary care physician for an examination. It took an ultrasound, an MRI and a CT scan to finally track down the cause of Suzanne’s bloating: metastatic ovarian cancer.
Because the disease presents few symptoms and because no early screening tests are currently available, most patients, like Suzanne, are diagnosed only when the cancer has already progressed to other areas of the body. Suzanne set out to do something about that, even while undergoing aggressive chemotherapy.
“Ovarian cancer gets no attention, it gets limited funding, and it affects women in the prime of their lives,” said Suzanne. “We must do this for our daughters and for our granddaughters.”
Suzanne established the XOXOutCancer Fund, named for her signature letter sign off, “xoxo,” to fund new early diagnostic methods and raise awareness about this silent killer. Last October at the first XOXOut Cancer Fund event, Suzanne and her supporters raised more than $75,000 for research being conducted by her caregivers Michael Birrer, MD, PhD, director of the Gynecologic Oncology Research Program and Marcela del Carmen, MD, at the Mass General Cancer Center.
Suzanne lost her brave battle to cancer in March 2016. She was beloved for her kindness, enthusiasm, warmth and perhaps most notably for her incredible sense of humor. “Helping others was in Suzanne’s DNA,” says nominator Sue Griffin.
Story told by Jordan Rich of The Jordan Rich Show on WBZ NewsRadio 1030. Visit www.theonehundred.org to learn more and meet the rest of our honorees.