#LiveLikeSusie Memorial Fund for Lung Cancer Research

For: Lung Cancer Research - Stand Up 2 Cancer and Bonnie Addario
San Francisco, CA
Organizer: Adam Klein
of $75,000 goal
87% Complete
Raised by 762 donors

The Story

On Saturday May 14 2016, my best friend and beautiful mom Susie passed peacefully with her family by her side. She fought hard against lung cancer for 9 months, but more importantly, thrived for 60 years. She danced, smiled and laughed through life, and never lost hope or her passion for life in her final months. These were the hardest months of our lives, but my mom never allowed any of us to stop living fully and thrive, as she always did, and that is what we will all continue to do for her, with her energy guiding us.

The pictures on the left and bottom right are from after my mom's diagnosis. Even in the face of this unimaginable nightmare, my mom never lost hope and never stopped smiling. Everyone who ever met her fell in love with her energy and spirit, and we couldn't walk down the block without my mom making a new friend or connecting with an old one.

Most importantly, she never stopped dancing and never stopped loving life and everyone in it. More than anything, I will miss tearing up the dance floor with her (like we did in the bottom right picture just a few months ago), but I won't stop dancing either, and she'll always be with me when I do.

The love she shared with my dad was unmatched. They were truly partners in all aspects of life and throughout 35 years of the most loving marriage a couple could ever hope for. The gaping hole in our hearts will never be completely filled, but knowing that so much of my mom lives on in my father Alan, in my brother Evan, in myself, and in so many friends and family helps us all hold her close.

Lung cancer is a devastating disease that can attack anyone. My mom was the epitome of health: never smoked, exercised every day, ate organically and consciously, and avoided toxic environments. Funding for lung cancer research is a fraction of other cancers (one tenth when you compare $/death to breast cancer for example), and it's largely because of the implicit blame we place on lung cancer victims when we assume they did something to bring it upon themselves. Help bring some meaning to my mother?#39;s passing by making a donation to lung cancer research in her memory. All proceeds will benefit lung cancer research by the Stand Up 2 Cancer lung cancer Dream Team as well as the Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on May 16, 2017

Posted on May 16, 2017

Yesterday, Mother’s Day, marked one year since I returned home from filming 'Survivor', one year since I told my mom I loved her. One year since she said it back. We miss her every minute of every day.

Since then, her legacy has lived on through all of those who ever knew and loved her, and also in the way she has inspired thousands of people to live life more fully, and to help raise critical funding and awareness for lung cancer research.

In the course of the year, I was announced as the winner of Survivor, and on the finale, we took the #LiveLikeSusie campaign for lung cancer research national. I donated $100,000 of my winnings to the Stand Up 2 Cancer Lung Cancer Dream Team, as did Bristol Myers Squibb Company, and 1,850 members of the public contributed $175,000. Add that to the $60,000 that has been raised on this YouCaring page for both SU2C and the Bonnie Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, and we have raised over $435,000 so that other families don’t have to experience the pain and loss that mine did.

This money will help us push the needle on lung cancer, a disease that is tragically misunderstood and underfunded. Lung cancer kills more men and women each year than any other cancer – actually more than the next top 3 cancer killers, combined. And yet, it is a cause that is often overlooked for both funding and attention. The stigma of lung cancer, that somehow you must have done something along the way to ‘get’ lung cancer, such as smoking, has stymied research progress over the years. My mom never smoked and lived the epitome of a healthy lifestyle, and her example just goes to show that if you have lungs, you can get lung cancer, and we need to invest resources now to figure out better ways to detect lung cancer earlier and to develop more effective treatments.

Today, we raised the goal of this campaign to $75,000, which, if we can hit, would bring the overall amount raised to $450,000. If my mom or her story has touched you in some way, please consider making a further contribution as a Mother’s Day gift to honor her on this anniversary of her passing.

Mother’s Day last year, my mom was sending me all of her energy from home as I was in Fiji finding my second hidden immunity idol on Survivor. We were separated by distance, but connected by energy. Today, we are still all connected to my mom in energy, just separated by time. I think of her and I feel her energy within me when I dance, when I laugh, and when I am living life most fully. I hope you will continue to do the same.

-Adam Klein, son of Susie

❤ ❤ ❤ #LiveLikeSusie ❤ ❤ ❤

Posted on October 22, 2016

Posted on October 22, 2016

As you can imagine, my life feels very surreal. My biggest dream came true this year when I got a chance to compete on Season 33 of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X. It was a family dream, something I almost got to do with my mom when we came close to being cast on the show together just over two years ago. At the time, my mom was the healthiest woman I knew. At 58 years old, she would have been the 3rd oldest woman in Survivor history, but she not only was physically cleared for the game, she was in incredible shape and would have run circles around me on the show. We didn't get on that year, but my family was confident that one day, it would happen.

Fast forward to one year ago. My mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer in August, creating the single greatest nightmare of all of our lives. My mom was always full of life, full of passion, and full of love, and she inspired others, myself included, to do the same. Even after she was diagnosed, she encouraged me to apply again to Survivor. At the time, it was hard for me to think about something like Survivor when our lives had just taken such a serious turn, but if my mom was going to keep living at 100%, I was going to follow her lead. I applied, and this time, after months of interviews, I got on.

I've now watched 5 episodes of myself on the show we loved as a family, the show that I talked about with my mom every week since I was 9 years old. Watching without her by our side on the couch is more devastating than anything I've ever experienced. And yet, the love and support from everyone who has donated to this campaign, who has been through a similar pain, and who shares our desire to end the nightmare of lung cancer for other families, has kept our family grounded, focused, and optimistic.

Including offline donations, we have now raised over $30,000 from over 300 people, with plans to raise significantly more. We have met with nonprofits focused on lung cancer research including Stand Up 2 Cancer and the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation, and are getting close to announcing a partnership and directing all of the funds from this campaign to research. The more this campaign raises, the more we will be able to do in partnership with a large and effective nonprofit.

Thank you for your continued support, your donations, and your love.

Adam Klein

ALSO: I am going to add some links to videos of me on Survivor that tell my mom's story. If you are inspired, please share the links to this campaign (www.youcaring.com/SusieKlein), to these videos, or whatever speaks to you. The more people talk about this disease and this campaign, the more we can accomplish together.

Finding my tribe's hidden immunity idol in episode 4 and dedicating it to my mom
Sharing my mom's story the day before the game began
How my mom pushed me towards my hidden immunity idol
What Survivor means to my family

Posted on June 12, 2016

Posted on June 12, 2016

THANK YOU to the 130 people/families who have donated so far to our fundraiser for lung cancer research in honor of my incredible mom, Susie Klein. Making sense of this tragedy is exceptionally difficult, as my mom was so youthful, so full of life and energy, and the most health conscious person imaginable. Nevertheless, the opportunity to help others through research, so that other families like ours don't have to be torn apart by a senseless disease, is helping us to bring some good out of bad.

We have already raised an incredible $16,000, and for that we want to say thank you so much to those who have already donated. We will continue to solicit donations in the coming months and beyond, and hope that as more people hear about my mom, remember her, and continue to love her as so many have, we will push the limit of what is possible, and ultimately find a cure for this terrible disease.

For those of you who have not heard already, we are hosting a Celebration of Life for my mom tomorrow, Sunday June 12, from 2-7pm in Burlingame (325 Occidental Avenue). The event is an open house, so if you knew and loved Susie, please feel free to come by. There will be live music from 2-4pm (my mom would want to dance, not mope!), and an opportunity for an open mic/public comment soon after 4pm. In lieu of flowers or food contributions, we are asking for donations to this fundraiser.

We are still considering options for the destination of these contributions. Once an organization has been decided upon or a foundation created, we will post an update and all funds will be directed to that nonprofit/foundation.

Thank you and love to all,

The Kleins

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