When Susie Sachs was growing up, her parents, Marilyn and Ken Steinback, encouraged her to participate in sports and exercise regularly. Staying fit was important to the Steinbacks and their family trips often involved skiing and other physical activities.
Susie believed that her family’s lifestyle played an important role in why they were so healthy. Until one day, when her father, an avid jogger, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. He was 57 years old.
“It hit my family hard,” she says. “Dad had been super healthy. He did everything right, he ate right, he exercised.”
That was about 18 years ago and since that time, Ken has survived three bouts of this aggressive form of cancer and is now in remission. Susie thanks her father’s oncologist Nancy Bartlett, MD, and others at Siteman Cancer Center team for her father’s survival.
“Dr. Bartlett and her team saved Dad’s life,” Susie says. “We are so lucky to have the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in our city.”
Susie says she has learned a lot from her father’s experience and his efforts to give back. For example, Ken is a former chairman of the Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital and he initiated the Kenneth B. Steinback Cancer Research Fund, which supports Dr. Bartlett’s work.
This influenced Susie to follow in her father’s footsteps by joining the Foundation’s board in 2017. Although she’s the busy mother of three children, ages 17, 14 and 8, she says it was important to carry on her family’s legacy.
Being on the board has taught her the important role that the Foundation plays in supporting patient care, research, education, and community outreach. Through her participation on the board’s philanthropy and stewardship committees, Susie says she has gained insight and perspective into the Foundation’s mission “to enrich lives, save lives and improve patient care through charitable giving.”
“I particularly like learning about the organizations we support and being part of the decision-making process in how we give back to the community,” she says.
In addition, because the development of new drugs and treatments were so instrumental in her father’s return to health, Susie says it’s very gratifying to learn how researchers use seed money from Foundation donors to obtain essential larger government grants.
“Before joining the board, I didn’t realize just how crucial donations can be,” she says. “They can make a major difference in whether doctors will be able to conduct the groundbreaking research that can save improve and save so many lives.”