Susan D. Wiley, Co-Founder, SWF

Susan D. Wiley, Lindsay Mesches, Co-Founders, SWF

Play a Role in the Smiley Wiley Breast Cancer Foundation story.

The Smiley Wiley Breast Cancer Foundation was founded on the premise of friendship. Susan D. Wiley and Lindsay Mesches became fast friends when Lindsay began working at Susan’s State Farm Insurance agency in 2007. They both viewed life as an adventure to savor and live to the fullest; they had met their match.

Prior to their meeting, Susan lived through a battle with breast cancer, which brought her much wisdom and inspiration. Her life had always been full, but after her illness, Susan was even more motivated to maximize each day, putting her whole heart into each moment. At work, Susan ran her insurance agency with the highest goal in mind; to help her clients achieve a sense of security so they could focus on enjoying their life. The rest of her time was spent exploring many different lands, bodies of water and even a few parts of the sky (skydiving)! Susan surely knew the value of life.

Just a few months into their friendship Susan was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. From local doctor’s appointments to aggressive out-of-state treatments, Susan and Lindsay went on a journey for survival together, both trying to find the “SMILE” in every situation. As Susan’s cancer progressed, they became bucket list buddies,’ exploring everything from distant lands to deep conversations. They forged a bond that felt like family. Susan always referred to Lindsay as her God Daughter (In the truest sense of the term).

At one particular doctor’s appointment, Susan’s oncologist, Dr. Elisabeth A. McKeen, shared a story about another patient who would soon have to forego treatment due to an insurance deductible that was too costly. Susan took it upon herself to write a check to the cancer center and cover the patient’s treatment without ever meeting this person or even knowing their name.

Later, as Susan told her story about donating to the unknown woman, Lindsay had a realization that perhaps Susan had to go through this arduous journey of her own, so that she could come out helping other people. Susan’s act of love blossomed an insight in Lindsay, bringing on the creation of The Smiley Wiley Breast Cancer Foundation, with a mission to help breast cancer patients pay for high cost insurance deductibles and treatments. The idea is to take away some of the financial burden so that patients can concentrate on healing and enjoying life. Susan loved the concept and jumped on board, she gave generously in order to make this dream a reality.

On Thanksgiving morning of 2011, Susan passed away, leaving her family and friends missing her contagiously positive spirit. Luckily, she also left behind many smiles, memories and laughter. These smiles can now live on forever and be contagious to others through the Smiley Wiley foundation.

“The Smiley Wiley Breast Cancer Foundation is Susan’s way of reminding us all everyday to keep smiling, because life is good.” Lindsay says. “It’s a testament to the fact that sometimes the path we are called to walk on is formidable, but in each challenge there is an opportunity for growth of spirit and of the heart, making it all worth while. It’s a reminder that when a challenge pushes you, you should always try to keep the courage to smile.”

Susan took action immediately that day in her doctor’s office. It was natural for her to help. Thanks to the vision and dedication of Lindsay Mesches, Susan’s spirit of giving lives on. Today, Lindsay and Susan are still a powerful team, helping friends, known and unknown, to smile.

Lindsay Mesches is the Executive Director of the Smiley Wiley Breast Cancer Foundation. Also helping with the day-to-day activities is Denice Wiley, Susan’s sister-in-law. Please contact either Lindsay or Denice at smile@smileywiley.org.


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