Chapel Hill's Suzie Havens calls the Beach Ball "a fun, casual and very relaxed party - it feels like just about everyone in Chapel Hill is there!" The five-year volunteer and three-year co-chair loves the inclusive nature of the event and the range of people who attend.
"Of course I love the event itself - it's a GREAT party, but even better - you can feel good about attending because you know that you are also helping raise the funds that will go to research, treatment and prevention programs," she says.
Havens volunteers alongside her mother, Bev Foster, and sister, Deb Shah. She calls the Beach Ball a team effort - noting the support of her husband, realtor Kevin Cohan, and even her five year old daughter, Samantha. She credits "an absolutely fantastic volunteer committee" with making the event a success year after year.
The busy working mom fits in the Beach Ball activities around her job at GVA Advantis, where she has been employed for eight years. The same is true of many of her fellow committee members. She says, "It's such a diverse group and every one of us has a story of what brought us to volunteer for UNC Lineberger, whether it's our own battle with cancer or that of a friend or loved one. There is a common bond that drives us all. I love being a part of that!!!"
Havens was treated for breast cancer at UNC Lineberger more than eight years ago. She says, "I feel compelled to do whatever I can to help find a cure and to show my gratitude for my own survival, to honor those who have not been as fortunate, and for everyone out there who we can prevent ever having to go through this."
She admits that she cries every time she sees her UNC doctors because without them, she wouldn't be here. Her daughter, born after her radiation and chemotherapy, "calls it a 'happy cry,'" she adds.
"I want to see a cure for cancer in my lifetime, and I believe if we work hard enough at it - we will. It's why we are all there - we don't even need to talk about it," she says with a smile!