Breast Cancer Patient Prepares for Surgery with Help from her Friends

Suzanne Orosz is in the fight of her life. The 33 year was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer on September 11th. An otherwise healthy Suzanne braced herself for 33 radiation sessions and 12 weeks of chemotherapy. By the time I made her acquaintance in early December she was looking strong and wearing a smile, however the road ahead is daunting. According to breastcancer.org: "Stage IV describes invasive breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other organs of the body, such as the lungs, distant lymph nodes, skin, bones, liver, or brain. You may hear the words “advanced” and “metastatic” used to describe stage IV breast cancer. Cancer may be stage IV at first diagnosis or it can be a recurrence of a previous breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body." Suzanne - a Washintonville High School graduate - may be on the front lines of her illness, but she's not going it alone. Friends from her childhood in the Hudson Valley are standing side-by-side with her, literally.

Jillian (left) Suzanne (right)

Jillian O'Neil and Suzanne met when they were just 11 years old. The pair cheered together for the Washingtonville Wizards and refused to be separated even at the college level - insisting on attending SUNY Plattsburgh together. Watching her childhood friend endure the trials of treatment, Jillian decided to shave her head in honor of Suzanne. Suzanne's treatments will be covered by medical insurance, but that doesn't account for time spent away from her work or incidentals like prescription co-pays. So Jillian - now a Middletown, NY resident - stepped in to help. On December 9th, 2012 the Bulls Head Inn swelled with friends, neighbors and family all in support of Suzanne. General manager Mike Derosa graduated from Washingtonville High School in 1996 alongside Suzanne and Jillian.  He was happy to host the event on behalf of his former classmate.

Walking into the Bulls Head inn is like taking a step back in time. The 18th century farmhouse is situated on the Sarah Wells Trail thoroughfare that runs through Campbell Hall.  Many of the area’s first buildings were constructed along the trail including this farmhouse which became a dining establishment in 1967.  The house still boasts many of the original floorboards with the lower fireplace on the first level serving as the center of attention in the fine country restaurant. A bountiful menu included grilled salmon with dill sauce, Penne ala Vodka, Chicken Marsala Fresh mozzarella with Roaster Red Peppers - Chef Kris Edwards is the owner/operator of the inn and a graduate of the culinary institute. Edwards prides himself in his first-rate Continental menu and guests of the fundraiser delighted in the dining selection he provided in honor of Suzanne.

Frank Mami brought the party to it's feet - ringing out in song throughout the evening with the State Street Band. Jillian began to total dollar amounts from the raffle, the silent auction and ticket sales. The winner of the 50/50 raffle rededicated their winning amount back to the cause. In total the event raised nearly $15,000.

Suzanne is scheduled for surgery at NYU's Cancer Institute on January 11th. "The doctors there are great," she admits. A prayer chain is spreading via social media in her honor coinciding with the date of her surgery. Please join us in wishing her well and on her way to a full recovery.