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Meet Susan R


“I am not what you call a quitter”

Susan R. came to GHA in 1990 after a 23-hour surgery for a brain tumor that resulted in a massive, debilitating stroke. She went from her own home to a convalescing home and then, bankrupt, she moved into GHA. ““I wasn’t supposed to live,” she said. “If I couldn’t have come here at that point, my only other option was to die in a nursing home.”

Today, 14 years later, she calls GHA home, and values the fact that she can still live independently. She writes poetry, plays scrabble, works on a novel, and she keeps her house spotless. While her illness changed her routine, it did not dampen her spirit. “I taught myself how to talk again, and how to write.”

Susan has three adult sons and other family, some living nearby and others in the Midwest.

Susan was always a go-getter; in her career she lived in Chicago, Raleigh and Atlanta and worked for Max Factor and other cosmetic companies, rising to the position of area sales director. Her job required traveling to many states and she relished the high-energy lifestyle.

She still maintains a full throttle on life, just in a different direction. An outspoken advocate for disabled persons, Susan doesn’t tolerate ill-founded or patronizing views on the subject. “A lot of people think ‘disabled’ means ‘dumb,’ but it does not” she said.

She encourages others to press ahead in life, even against fierce opposition, embodying in grand style her favorite quote: “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

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