Woman, 47, already 20-year cancer Survivor

Breast cancer survivor's story

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - This week we've brought you stories of incredible women fighting breast cancer.  Our final story in the five-part series is about a woman who is a 20-year survivor, but only 47-years-old.

Susan Stuppnig grew up in Lincolnton but now lives in Charlotte.  She was diagnosed at 26-years-old in 1994.  She says two decades later the disease doesn't seem to be getting better, it seems to be getting worse.

"My mission is to get this thing stopped so people don't have to go through that," she says.  "And to encourage women to live everyday to the fullest."

Susan's mom died of ovarian cancer when Susan was only five.  Her younger sister, Meg, was only two.  She knew to be worried because of her genes... but says the diagnosis still hit her from out of nowhere.

"I had four rounds of chemotherapy and 25 rounds of radiation," she says.  "Back then they also wanted me to have a bone marrow transplant."

Also part of the recovery?  Finding other inspiring survivors.   She says finding other survivors creates an unbreakable sisterhood.

People like 9-year survivor Tracey Roberts.  Tracey came with her to our interview.

"If you're sitting there with no hair and you're thinking how am I going to get through this and you see Susan and you think, 'Oh my goodness, she's 20 years out. I can do this'," Tracey says.  "It's just awesome."

Susan has remained free and clear for two decades, and every year gets her team out to Komen Charlotte "Race for the Cure" the first Saturday in October.

"On Race Day there's nothing better then taking the picture of Survivors," Susan says.  "I look forward to it all year.   We are one powerful group of Charlotte Survivors."

Susan encourages anyone who might even be possibly considering coming to Race for the Cure to grab their kids or families or friends and register. 

It's October 4th in Marshall Park.  We celebrate those fighting, those surviving and honor those who lost their battle.

To join our "WBTV Team Molly" team, go www.wbtv.com/breastcancer.

It's a $35 registration fee. If you join the WBTV team you will get two t-shirts – one from Komen Charlotte and one from WBTV – and then meet us all in Uptown next October 4th.