FOX21 News is celebrating remarkable women in Southern Colorado who inspire, lead, and make a difference in our lives.
COLORADO SPRINGS — This month, we are telling you the stories of four women who were selected as finalists for our Remarkable Women Contest. This week, we are introducing you to our first-runner-up — Susan DiNapoli. She’s an advocate and survivor.
AJ Craig, who nominated DiNapoli, said, “She leads everything she does with a whole heart and a full chest so anything that she does, it’s going to be remarkable.”
DiNapoli is the executive director of Sue’s Gift — named after her mother.
“My mom passed away in 2005 from ovarian cancer,” DiNapoli said.
It’s a local non-profit that helps women who have been diagnosed with gynecologic cancers.
DiNapoli said, “After my mom passed away, my dad and my sister actually founded this organization with an awareness message.”
DiNapoli took over in 2015 and changed the focus to patient services.
“When my mom was diagnosed, there were no support groups here, there wasn’t even a doctor in town that could treat her. We had to take her to Denver to get treatment,” DiNapoli said.
From financial to emotional support, Sue’s Gift has helped 185 colorado families pay out-of-pocket bills for treatment while creating a community for survivors and patients.
DiNapoli said, “When you’re faced with cancer, a tragic diagnosis, you really are looking for somebody to help maybe hold you up to help support you a little bit, and who maybe knows the road.”
“If she wasn’t doing the work that she is doing, women would be skipping treatments, would be skipping medications, might not have all of their basic daily needs met as far as food or heat or those sorts of things,” Craig said.
In 2018, DiNapoli herself was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Watching your mom die of cancer is one thing. Going through cancer is something completely different and I have both of those experiences now,” DiNapoli said.
After three surgeries, she too became a survivor.
“Despite everything in her own personal life, she made absolutely certain that Sue’s Gift not only did not fail but did not flounder,” Craig said.
And the women DiNapoli has helped along the way think she’s pretty remarkable too.
“They see her and they just light up from within, and it’s remarkable,” Craig said.