Tag Archives: Susan Fund

Roundup: Donuts, Swans, Missoula …

In honor of National Donut Day last week, the Senior Center ran a contest.

The results are in:

  • Chocolate: Coffee An’ (“by far,” I’m told)
  • Glazed: Coffee An’ and Dunkin’ Donuts (a tie!)
  • Plain: Dunkin


A Westport favorite for generations. (Photo/Katherine Bruan)


Staples Players’ first Studio Theater production in over 2 years takes center stage on Thursday. Studios are directed, designed and run entirely run by students.

“At the Bottom of Missoula” portrays loss and grief in such an impactful way. Co-directors Chloe Manna and Chloe Nevas — both seniors — say, “It was a challenging piece but one we were excited to take on with our amazing cast and crew. The show takes the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions within its 35 minute run. The lighting design and sound is unique too, and creates  really beautiful moments we hope the audience will be touched by.”

The plot: After losing her family in a fatal tornado, college student Pan embarks on an unimaginable journey. She transfers schools and isolates herself, but cannot escape feeling sad and guilty. Finally, a classmate helps Pam realize that healing need not be a solitary endeavor.

Performances are Thursday and Saturday, June 9 and 11 at 7:30 p.m., in Staples’ Black Box Theater. Click here for tickets.

The cast of “At the Bottom of Lake Missoula.” (Photo/Chloe Nevas)


Speaking of Staples:

The rugby team defeated Trumbull last night 41-21 in the state tournament semifinals.

The Wreckers advance to the state championship. The match is home (Paul Lane Stadium) this Thursday (June 9, 5:30 p.m.) against perennial powerhouse Greenwich — winner of 11 state titles. The Westporters shoot for their first.

Staples and the Cardinals have a great history. The Wreckers won their league match this spring; 3 weeks later, Greenwich got revenge at nationals.

Get ready to rumble!


Award winning singer-songwriter Diana Jones headlines this Saturday’s Voices Café at the Unitarian Church. Her 8 p.m. concert is both in-person and livestreamed.

The concert is dedicated to the efforts of 6 area faith communities. All help settle refugees in Fairfield County, through the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants.

Volunteers come from Westport’s Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church,  Unitarian Church and United Methodist Church; Weston’s Norfield Congregational Church, the Greenfield Hill Congregational, and First Church Congregational of Fairfield.

Jones has performed at the Cambridge Folk Festival, Galway Arts Festival, Levon Helm’s Ramble in Woodstock, New York, and Bimhuis in Amsterdam, and shared stages with Richard Thompson, Janis Ian and Mary Gauthier. Joan Baez has recorded her songs.

Voices Café offers café-style and individual seating. Click here for tickets, and more information.

Diana Jones


It took 3 years of planning (and COVID), but Staples’ Class of 1980 will celebrate their 40th reunion — okay their42nd — at LaKota Oaks in Norwalk. It’s also a giant 60th birthday party for all. LaKota Oaks’ 65 acres includes a pool, basketball and volleyball courts, horseshoes and more.

The event begins Thursday, August 11 at Viva Zapata; continues Friday at the Black Duck, and concludes Saturday at LaKota Oaks. There’s jazz music in the afternoon, and a DJ at night.

As always, the Class of ’80 will raise money for the Susan Fund, in honor of classmate Susan Lloyd. For tickets and more information, click here. Questions? Email amy@aapk.com or szrobins84@gmail.com.

The Susan Fund — in honor of Susan Lloyd, Staples ’80 — provides scholarships for students with cancer, and survivors.


Several readers have noticed that the swan’s nest near Gorham Island seems abandoned.

Amy Schneider took this photo, which may show the reason why: cracked eggs.

If so, it’s a sad — but natural — “Westport … Naturally” photo.

(Photo/Amy Schneider)


And finally … if you’ve never heard of Diana Jones (story above) — or if you have, and enjoy her music — take a listen:

CT Challenge Is A Ride For Life

When Staples grad Susan Lloyd lost first her leg, and then her life, to bone cancer, her family could have wallowed in self-pity.

When Fairfield native Jeff Keith lost a leg to cancer at age 12, he could have limped along and watched life from the sidelines.

They did not.

And countless area cancer patients and their families have benefited as a result.

Susan Lloyd

Susan Lloyd

Since 1982, the Susan Fund has awarded hundreds of college scholarships to young people suffering with cancer. Since 2005, Jeff’s CT Challenge has helped cancer survivors live healthier, happier lives through fitness, nutrition, health and support programs. Fittingly, Jeff was one of the first Susan Fund recipients.

The 2 organizations work closely together. For example, the CT Challenge’s Center for Survivorship in Southport hosts the Susan Fund awards ceremony.

And on Saturday, July 26 there are 25, 50, 75 and 100-mile bike rides, all starting at the Fairfield County Hunt Club. A 2-day ride starts the day before in Lakeville, Connecticut, and ends at the Hunt Club.

Over 1,000 riders — all of whom raise money to participate — are expected for this year’s 10th annual event. Last summer, they raised a record $1.65 million.

CT Challenge - 1Part of the funds raised by the bike ride support the Susan Fund. The bulk goes to the CT Challenge Center for Survivorship. It’s the only standalone center of its kind in the country not affiliated with a hospital.

Other money goes to CT Challenge’s yoga program, camp and college scholarships for young cancer survivors, adventure outings for young adult survivors, support for women in lower socioeconomic areas, research projects, outreach services, a speaker series and more.

Last year, nearly 54,000 cancer survivors benefited from CT Challenge programs.

Among the riders this year is Jessica Ellison. A Staples grad and Susan Fund recipient, she’s majoring in molecular biology at Georgetown University. Jessica spent several years at Camp Rising Sun, inspiring youngsters with cancer. She’s now a counselor there, and will join the camp team at the CT Challenge.

Jessica Ellison

Jessica Ellison

Last year, Jessica and her parents rode with the Susan Fund team. This year, there are 2 Susan Fund teams entered in the ride.

Of course, you don’t have to be part of any team to participate. All you have to do is support a cyclist — or get on a bike yourself.

It’s a beautiful ride. Plus, the Lloyd family and Jeff Keith have already shown you the way.

(Click for more information on the CT Challenge bike rides.)


Honoring Susan, And Her Fund

The Susan FundWestport is fortunate to be filled with funds and foundations.  Each has carved out its own niche.  All do good work, often with little recognition.

All too are worthy of mention.  But at the top of any list must be the Susan Fund.

Formed more than 25 years ago, it honors Susan Lloyd — a Staples cheerleader who lost a leg, and eventually her life, to cancer.  Each year the fund allows young cancer patients throughout Fairfield County to attend college.  This year it passed the $1 million mark in awards.

Late last month the Susan Fund held its annual reception at the Unitarian Church.  Over $60,000 in grants went to 22 students.  Two were from Westport:  Eric Goldschmidt, a junior at the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Marisa Dabice, a University of Colorado senior.

The ceremony is always moving.   Board members — who get very close to recipients during the yearly interview process — enjoy seeing them in a relaxed setting.  Recipients — who are recognized for their courageous efforts — can share their successes with other cancer patients.  The battle against cancer can be lonely, but the Susan Fund makes it a family effort.

One of the highlights last week was Marisa’s speech.  She said:

I was 17 years old and on the verge of graduation from Staples.  Less than 2 years earlier I was diagnosed with alveolar soft part sarcoma – an extremely rare type of cancer that has affected no more than 300 people worldwide.

During this time, I refused to let cancer affect my life more than it had to.  I did not speak with anyone about my “situation,” and for the sake of my family I never cried, nor did I express any sort of anger or sadness.  Because I felt that I could relate to no one and was incapable of being understood, I kept all my feelings on an emotional back burner.

This all changed the day a friend of the family told me about The Susan Fund.  At that moment, everything changed.  For the first time I would be challenged to acknowledge my cancer as reality.  In doing so, I began to see the Susan Fund as an opportunity to look to the future, and concentrate on the things I wanted to accomplish.

I vividly remember my first interview with the  board of directors.  I expected to meet just with Ann Lloyd to discuss my scholarship application.  When I walked into the room there were 13 smiling faces.  All were interested in knowing more about me and what I wanted to accomplish at the University of Colorado.

That day I fell in love with everyone in that room at Town Hall.  They challenged me to question my educational and career goals, and allowed to me to reflect on the life I would live post-cancer.  It was exhilarating to be defined not by the randomness of my illness, but to be defined — and ultimately rewarded — for the things I cherish most in life:  international and domestic volunteerism, a strong work ethic, travel abroad, and academic success.

Every year since, I have looked forward to my next Susan Fund application and meeting with the board.  It allows me to experience a yearly self-reflection of my goals and opportunities, while knowing that a few thousand miles away from Boulder there are people who not only truly care for me, but believe I am capable of achieving my goals.  This support group encourages me to make the best of every educational opportunity, and challenges me to work with diligence and determination in every class.

With the support of The Susan Fund’s amazing group of directors I have excelled at my major of international relations, traveled extensively throughout Europe, worked for the Council on International Educational Exchange in Sevilla (where I became fluent in Spanish), and made the Dean’s List.  I have been motivated to achieve my yearly goals, and I continue to create new.

The love and support I have felt from The Susan Fund board these past 4 years is immeasurable, and the admiration I have for them is unquestionable.  I thank the Susan Fund each day of my life for believing in a 17-year-old girl who was unsure of what she was capable of, and helping her grow into a young woman who knows that she can do it all.

(To learn more about the Susan Fund — or donate to it — click here.)