About the Author

Suzann Bresler Goldstein is a writer, poet, and author of a new memoir, FIGHTING BACK: Doing Battle with Cancer. Suzann posts essays and poems to this blog.

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Suzann attended the University of Connecticut (UConn) but dropped out after only two years. She moved to New York City with friends and, while there, met the love of her life Ed Goldstein. They married, and before long, became a full-fledged family with the arrival of daughters Stacy in 1964 and Valerie in 1966.

Valerie was three years old when she was diagnosed with bone cancer. She died six years later in January 1976. In February 1976 Suzann and Ed established THE VALERIE FUND, in their daughter’s memory. THE VALERIE FUND is an organization that supports comprehensive health care for children with cancer and blood disorders. Today, there are seven THE VALERIE FUND Children’s Centers located in seven major hospitals in New Jersey and New York City. Together, these Centers form one of the largest networks of hospital-based, outpatient healthcare facilities for children with cancer and blood disorders in the nation. THE VALERIE FUND also offers Camp Happy Times, a free week-long summer camp for children with cancer.

In 1981, when their daughter Stacy was 17, a fresh interest in academics urged Suzann to add commuter student to her New Jersey schedule. She transferred her credits from UConn to Douglass Residential College and in 1984, in her junior year, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. In 1985 she graduated and was awarded the Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors.

Suzann went on to earn a Master of Arts degree in medical sociology at Rutgers University, then entered their Ph.D. program. She left graduate school before completing the last of her doctoral course work to care for Stacy who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 25. Stacy died 12 years later in 2001.

The breast cancer center at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, in collaboration with Suzann and Ed, was renamed in memory of Stacy. It is now called the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey . Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey is the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center and one of only 41 such cancer centers in the entire nation.

In May 2017, Suzann and Ed were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and were the recipients of the Unsung Heros Award for their charitable endeavors.

Suzann has reflected on her capacity to move forward and change lives: “I never put a label to my work before, but I now know it as public service. And for me, public service means heeding the voices of our lost loved ones, an ongoing concern for others, and a determination to do what’s right.”



May 2017, Suzann and Ed were inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame and were the recipients of the Unsung Heros Award.

In May 2015, Suzann was the recipient of the Woman of Achievement Award from The State Federation of Women’s Clubs.

In October 2014, Suzann was inducted into The Douglass Society, an honor given by the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College to those whose life’s work embodies exceptional accomplishments and leadership.

In mid June 2013, Suzann and Ed were awarded The Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis Jefferson Award for Public Service.

In early June 2013, Suzann and Ed received the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Award in Public Service.

In March 2012, Suzann was chosen as the Somerset County Woman of The Year for Public Service.

In 2011, Suzann was awarded the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s University Medal of Excellence.

In September 2010, Suzann was appointed to the Foundation Board of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.

In 2003, Suzann was appointed to the New Jersey State Child Placement Review Board.

In 1992, Suzann was appointed to the New Jersey State Department of Health Parental and Child Health Advisory Committee.

In 1991, The New Jersey State Department of Health chose Suzann as the recipient for the Albert Harrison Award for Extraordinary Commitment to Services for Children With Special Health Needs.

In 1984, Suzann received the Douglass College Student Cooperative Bookstore Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in a Major Field of Study.



FIGHTING BACK: Doing Battle with Cancer

My Faith My Way (2016/09/01

The Grief That Howls (2016/11/01)

Cancer: Emperor of All Maladies (2015/11/15)

Kids, Cars, and the Unpredictability of Life (2011/02/02)