It’s October and most of us have women in our lives who are mired in the fight against breast cancer. For us, this scourge is a personal one because we lost the founder of AdventureWomen, Susan Eckert, only a year and a half ago. Every moment at AdventureWomen we have Susan to thank and for so much. Without her inspiration, dedication, hard work and resilience, we wouldn’t even be here expanding on her legacy and finding new ways to connect women together through travel.
Remarkably, even when Susan received her diagnosis of breast cancer way back in 2007-8, she never really let this really slow her down. She just met this challenge, like others she had faced, head on and kept right on going. When the cancer recurred, ditto. Her strength and resilience over this period of many years was a great testament to the power of mind over matter, belief and faith over negativity. She was a true leader and an inspirational example for other women facing these same demons.
Many of you knew Susan from being on trips with her. She was funny, smart, direct, opinionated, “high energy” and more than anything else, she loved what she did. She was so passionate about being the instigator of all the fun and camaraderie on AdventureWomen trips. And she never tired about absorbing the interesting things she discovered on the road (sometimes in a destination but equally from guests she met). Her incredible knack for excellent photography was another way she celebrated the AdventureWomen experience. Thousands of images of different groups of women out in the world, free to explore at their own pace but together, supporting each other and just having a great time.
And Susan loved animals. Her steady horses. Her loyal dogs. Her wonderful cats. When out on trips, her love for wildlife was evident – from lemurs to orangutans and from elephants and koalas to silverback gorillas.
Most of all, Susan cherished her close friends and met many of them through AdventureWomen, a fitting and priceless return on the investment she made in her company decades before.
We know cancer is a difficult diagnosis for everyone. It reminds us about what is really important in life – and maybe that’s the silver lining. We know that we are better having known Susan. She continues to inspire us and remind us that by believing in each other, supporting each other, staying positive and reaching beyond our limits, we can do anything we want to.