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Sue Friedman - FORCE Founder and HBOC Hero

We often refer to sports icons as heroes, but a true hero isn’t an individual who scores points; it’s someone who gives selflessly and even sacrifices to benefit others. Sue Friedman, founder and Executive Director of FORCE, is such a hero.

I've had the privilege of working with Sue for the past six years and am honored to share her story and name her a HERO for the entire community.

At age 33, Sue enjoyed a full and wonderful life with a new child, a new home, and a veterinary practice that fulfilled her childhood dream of helping animals. Then, just as she and her husband were trying to expand their family, Sue was diagnosed “out-of-the-blue” with breast cancer.

Although she was eventually treated successfully, her medical care included several missteps: after a unilateral mastectomy, her cancer recurred and spread to her lymph nodes, requiring the loss of her remaining breast and extensive chemotherapy after she was advised that she had been “cured.” Sue’s medical team also made another significant error that would forever change her life: they failed to recognize that she had several red flags for a hereditary syndrome, a fact that she later learned not from her doctors, but from a magazine article. After her cancer recurred, she realized that she would need to be more proactive. She educated herself in order to receive appropriate medical care.  
During treatment for her recurrence, Sue insisted on a referral for genetic counseling and testing and learned she inherited a BRCA 2 mutation. After her treatment, she resolved that no one else should face hereditary cancer without guidance and support.

On New Years Day, 1999, she founded FORCE as a nonprofit and enduring resource for women and families facing hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. FORCE grew larger and stronger, demanding more and more of Sue’s time and energy. Others may have given up at that point, choosing a more self-indulgent path; but with conviction and tenacity, Sue sacrificed her career, her personal and family time to advocate loudly and passionately for awareness, research, and policy improvements through FORCE so that individuals and families who face hereditary cancer have a voice, an identity, a caring supportive community.

A pioneer and trailblazer for the hereditary cancer community, Sue continues to exemplify the term “hero” with her unparalleled leadership and tireless pursuit of reform, research and advances on behalf of our community. 

Please consider making a donation to honor Sue’s energy and passion, and to help continue her important work from which so many of us have benefitted.

Barbara Pfeiffer



Comment Donation
Carol Armstrong Thank you for everything you do for FORCE
Nancy Sue, thanks for all you do on all of our behalves, and for our children and grand-children who hopefully will have better options.
Becky Akins Thanks for all you do!
Anonymous I am a BRCA2+ male. Thank you so much for your help to the HBOC community! I especially like the Webinars.
Ellen Brock Thank you Sue for your amazing commitment and leadership.
Susan Spoto Sue, thank you for being the force behind FORCE!
Ana Lee Thank you for all you do for us!
Michelle Heverly Thank you for starting this wonderful organization.
Anonymous I have BRCA1 and know that FORCE has helped my extended family, female and male. FORCE has been there for us in times of crisis.
Becky Tapley Thank you, Sue! FORCE has made a huge impact on my life.
Laurie Spiegel Sue- Your are an amazing woman. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for all of us. My company, Ericsson, is matching this gift. So on behalf of myself and 100,000 more at Ericsson, we applaud you!!
Gretchen Owens Sue Friedman is a true mover and shaker. The resources Sue has made possible by dedicating her life to FORCE have been invaluable to me and countless other women with BRCA mutations. I cannot express enough gratitude.
Devon McLennan Thank you for everything you do! Happy 50th birthday!
Lois Pardoll Happy 50th Birthday Sue Thanks for being the force behind FORCE
Ellyn Davidson You are amazing! Thank you for all you do.
Linee You are definitely my HERO! Thank you isn't enough for all that you've done for our community. I'm so happy you're my friend.
Kathy Steligo Knowing you has enriched me personally and professionally. Your drive and commitment are inspiring.
Sue Friedman
Barbara Pfeiffer

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