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Finishing Strong

(Part Three) – It’s how you finish the race that counts…


I met Suzan Noel at age 13 when her family moved in a block away from us.  We would eventually get married one week after my 20th birthday.

I have always admired my wife.


Ever since she was 5, she had wanted to be a nurse.  Sue would see the nurses in their white uniforms and hats having lunch in the park across the street from St. Vincent and Bellin hospitals, and she vividly remembers making her mind up then and there that she, too, would be a nurse.


But she had little to no encouragement to seek college so initially; she accepted that she just couldn’t be a nurse.  After high school she took jobs as a retail clerk, a Burger King employee, and a gas station clerk.  She did think, however, that she could maybe become a nurse’s aide and started looking into that.


For someone to first go to college fully two years after high school, is rare, but Sue did.  On her own, she applied to Mercy Medical School in Oshkosh… and was promptly turned down.

That was unacceptable to her.  She met with administration and convinced them that they were wrong about her.  They accepted her, on probation, to start that semester.

Sue has been a licensed RN for 33 years.  She eventually became a Neonatal Nurse Clinician here in Green Bay and then a Pediatrics Orthopedic Nurse Clinician at Marshfield Clinic, and she hasn’t stopped.  She continues to advance her education now in enzyme, hormone and non-traditional medicine and has established her own business working with female clients, coast to coast, on women’s health issues.  Sue is hoping to start the Sunflower Foundation, an organization she envisions as working to provide the type of functional cancer treatment she received to women without the ability to pay for it.

We all remember the film of the marathon runner who, emaciated and barely able to stand, crossed the finish line… in last place…but crossed, nonetheless.  It’s not how you start the race that counts, or even if you win, but that you finish it.


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