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Survivor Story: Susan Hettinger

Posted by Pete Visintin on

Written & Contributed 
by Jamie Herendeen


Susan Hettinger is a 73 year old mother, grandmother, and great grandmother from Livingston IL.  She was married to Ronald Hettinger who passed away in 2001. 


They met in the military, were married and had four children, seven grand children, and three great grand children. 


She previously worked in child care until she was forced to retire due to her muscular dystrophy.  She has struggled with MD for many years but has always fought hard to remain independent.  


She did so until June 2017 when she started having stroke like symptoms.  She had an MRI revealing she had a thalmic brain tumor.  Because of the tumor's location it was unable to be removed or biopsied. 



Due to the tumor she did have fluid on the brain where a shunt was required.  Following the shunt surgery, she went to rehab and tried her best but has had a very hard time recovering.  She's lost the ability to use her right arm and leg, walk, and has difficulty communicating and feeding herself. 


There have been several MRIs done following the surgery, and the tumor appears to be growing which leads the doctors to believe it is aggressive.  She has had a few palliative radiation treatments to help her try and regain some function, but the oncologists have said this is terminal. 


She currently resides at Hitz Home in Alhambra and is enjoying visiting with her family and friends.  


Sue's greatest accomplishment in life has been being a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.  She has loved caring for children and continues to light up when being around her small great grand children. 


She is a strong Christian woman who shared her faith with others and is a member of First Baptist Church of Maryville.  


She has fought with her muscular dystrophy for years and is now fighting this tumor.  She is a strong woman and always will continue to "Fight the Fight!"






More than 50% of the proceeds from all Fight the Fight purchases made between September 1st, 2017 and September 15th, 2017 will be donated to Susan to help cover the cost of her medical-related expenses.


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  • I love Sue with all my heart. I sure appreciate this post, otherwise I don’t think I would know how she is doing. I was so dumb when Deanna was born and Sue helped me through it. Such a good friend! I wish I could reciprocate in some way!

    Beverly Pinder on
  • I used to bowl with Sue. She is an amazing woman, dear friend, and she really Loves people. Hope everything gets better.

    Doris Hollaway on
  • This beautiful lady is one of the best friend’s I have ever been privileged to have in my life. Sue and I first met in Bible Study many years ago and formed an immediate bond. She has been a source of inspiration to me and so many others. Anyone who has known her is truely blessed.

    Deborah Abbott on

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