Susan Rose Remembers


Philanthropist Susan Rose reflects on her experience helping to launch the SWCRF as one of its original board members. 


Susan Rose

When did you first meet Dr. Samuel Waxman and come across the Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation? 

I first met Dr. Samuel Waxman in the winter of 1976 when my Mom, Ella Wechsler, became his patient. He told me the truth about her diagnosis right from the beginning, but my Mom did not ever want to know the truth that she would only have less than six months left to live with her lung cancer. Dr. Waxman did his utmost to make her comfortable and, especially in the last few months of her life, when she was in the hospital, he showed the greatest compassion and concern for her. So when my Mom passed away, I surely had to try to help this extraordinary and brilliant doctor with his research. 

What was your involvement with the SWCRF? 

I found my way to Dr. Waxman’s office and learned that he had a few other supporters such as Shelly and Barry Finn and Miriam and Irving Alpert. Together, we started to build the Foundation, which at that time was devoted to differentiation therapy. I recall the first Gala was held at The Pierre Hotel and Marilyn Horne performed. I could not be prouder to have been one of the pioneers that stuffed envelopes and started the ball rolling on having the world know that Dr. Samuel Waxman had a lot to contribute to cancer research and to eradicating the disease. 

Would you please share any particularly fond personal memories from your participation with the SWCRF? 

The Board started to grow by adding the likes of David Workman and Mary Kantor, and we all felt close and warmly towards each other. While I was still active, Dr. Waxman created his partnership with Dr. Zhu Chen and Dr. Zhen Yi Wang in Shanghai. They collaborated on differentiation therapy. By the mid 90s, I became Emeritus and stood in the background as I watched the Foundation expand to support over 60 research laboratories around the world and become an “Institute Without Walls.”

What do you think about the evolution of the Foundation? 

I am so thrilled to see the enormous success of the Foundation both in the size of its supporters and in the research projects it supports.