Sue Miller looks like a glowing, radiant new bride – that’s because she is. On January 1, 2006, Sue married Harold Cohen, and joyfully says: “It was certainly something I didn’t expect. He is a longtime wonderful friend; and I do adore him. I really and truly am happy!”
Sue Miller, a former model, and a 35 year breast cancer survivor, has created something of eternal significant. In 1980, Sue got a group of women together for a fashion show where all the models were breast cancer survivors; and now the get-together has grown into one of Denver’s most moving, and spiritually uplifting, events: “The Day of Caring for Breast Cancer Awareness” which features - along with the stunning fashion show - seminars, discussion groups, a resource center, a silent auction and beautiful hand-crafted merchandise for sale that benefits the organization.
The Day of Caring has become a powerful catalyst in its mission to help Breast Cancer Survivors through Education, Empowerment and Hope. The message here is to stay positive, beat cancer – and Celebrate Life!
Some people talk about the contributions they want to make to the world, Sue Miller goes out and makes it happen. Sue is now getting her Masters in Psychology and is planning to open up a pro bono mental health clinic to help low income families who have problems.
Sue has just published a must read book: I’m Tougher Than I Look, (available at Amazon.com and the Tattered Cover) and was honored at the “Silver Anniversary Celebration Dinner for Day of Caring” in April for making a measurable, life-changing difference in the lives of woman (and men) with breast cancer at any stage.
In Sue’s own words: “I wanted to let people know that surviving breast cancer doesn’t just mean living, it means living well.” Today, and for many years to come, the new bride, Natalie Sue Miller Cohen, is, and will be, proof of that.
What do you consider your proudest achievement? My children. I’m so proud of them!
What changes with breast cancer survivors have you noticed through the years? Today people’s feelings about themselves and breast cancer is open, it’s easier to talk about. People are more willing to share their feelings. I think that has made a huge difference. We are more willing to share our hurts, and cry a little bit with each other.
So many of us grew up in times when our parents would say: “You just get through it, - you don’t share it, and you don’t talk about it.” And of course, that’s not the way it should be. Now someone who has breast cancer, has an obligation to help other people and help somebody else through it and to get the message out.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Probably Hawaii.
Is your new book, I’m Tougher Than I Look an autobiography? Yes.
Is there a magazine or publication you can’t live without? Town and Country – it’s great to look at!
Is there a book you have read that really inspired you that you can recommend to others? Marley and Me, the new book about a man and his dog by John Grogan.
Who is the most interesting person you have ever met? The ladies I have worked with through these 25 years and the effect they’ve had on my life. To see their courage; they’ve taught me what the meaning is – their ideas of what life becomes after they have had breast cancer – just to watch how they develop and go from that person whose whole life is wrapped up in cancer; it’s like a butterfly that comes out of its cocoon. Everyone has taught me something.
What do you consider a priceless gift? Love and Respect.
What word best describes your life right now? Peace.
What is your fondest childhood memory? Having picnics on Sundays with my grandparents in a park and listening to the music.
What is something your parent’s taught you that you have never forgotten? I learned how to respect myself, and how important it is.
Do you have a quote or saying that so far has helped guide you through life? I’ve said this to my children: “Be proud of what you do.” “Whatever you are going to do today, be sure you can wake up and look at yourself the next morning.”
What is something you absolutely can’t live without? Peanut Butter.
In addition to the wonderful Day of Caring, what charitable organizations are you involved with at this time? Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to really get involved with too much else. The Day of Caring has become so huge and takes most of my time.
Where is your focus these days, and what’s up in the future for Sue Miller? I’m going to school and getting a degree in Psychology and Counseling. My main purpose for doing this is: I had a young women die; a young Hispanic woman, and we couldn’t get the kind of help that she really needed. She needed a good Therapist, but because she needed some good long-term therapy for her and her family, and wasn’t able to get it; she ended up committing suicide.
It really was one of the hardest things for me. I just said then, I would get a Master’s and either try to open up a small practice of my own, or try and develop a clinic where psychologists and psychiatrists would donate their time to help those who do not have insurance or can’t pay to get help.
It’s one of the biggest problems happening in the United States today, over 700,000 have no insurance, and God forbid if they get sick they could all die. It’s sad.
What is your greatest strength? Patience. If something needs to get done, I’m not beyond getting very stubborn and determined; and I can just be patient and outwait anyone.
What is your greatest weakness? When I have to keep talking to myself when I head out on a new path, especially when I hear people say to me “maybe you shouldn’t do that?” trying not to let that deter me. It takes all the fight I have to stand up on my feet and not get discouraged. Sometimes you get scared and wonder if you should take that leap.
What do you still want to learn how to do? I just want to graduate; I want to be able to walk down that aisle and get my Master’s Degree. I want to learn how to open a clinic, and that’s what I’m going to have to learn how to do. I’ve done a lot of volunteering, but this will be like having a business.
What are your favorite leisure time activities or hobbies? I used to love to needlepoint. I love movies – any kind of movies, I just get lost in them.
What is your biggest fear? At my age, my biggest fear is that I won’t be independent. That I won’t be able to, for whatever reason, I won’t be able to get help. What really scares me, since now I’m having some problems with my eyes, is not being able to drive a car any more. If there are things I couldn’t go out and do, I’d be really broken up.
What should we all be working on these days to make our country better for future generations? I think we need – all of us - to start speaking up about the health care system. If enough people start writing letters or start putting pressure on Washington - or just start yelling about what’s happening with our health care today, I think we could help generations to come. What’s going to happen to our grandchildren if we don’t do something? It’s going to have to change. You just have to stand up and say no more; let’s get something done. Just get involved.
You’d think all of the big companies who can’t continue to pay for high health care costs, would say okay, these high costs are enough; let’s make changes. Massachusetts may not be entirely right, but at least they are trying to do something. It’s got to be a big powerful voice, and also those who are willing to take the slings and arrows. Without insurance, a catastrophic illness can wipe people out.
How do we get our young people interested in charitable work and giving back to the community? It used to come from watching the family. But I’m not sure that really works for everyone. How do you make the kids of today realize the importance of giving back? It’s such an “I and Me” kind of world with many kids. I think it’s wonderful when they have a school experience or program where they can be exposed to the community and give of their time. A lot of the young people aren’t picking up where we left off – not all of them necessarily - I really wish I knew what the answer is.
How would you like to be remembered by future generations? I think my grandkids will say and remember: Nonnie (that’s what they call me), there she goes again! I’m always saying to them, “Now we are going to start this, and we are going to do this, and I want everybody to help me,” and they say “here we go again, we have to go to this, or we have to do this for Nonnie.” It’s been kind of a fun thing for them, and I think the grandkids have seen how supportive their parents are of what I do, and I’ve involved all of them in what I’m doing.