Therese Surges’ world was turned upside down when her husband and love of her life, Keith, was diagnosed with appendiceal adenocarcinoma and PMP in 2010. Therese took this challenge head-on and proceeded to learn everything she could about Keith’s illness to support him in the best possible way. She stood steadfastly by Keith’s side for the next several years: his caregiver, his confidante, his rock.
As Therese gathered information to help Keith, she became a fountain of information about his disease, its treatment, and how to cope with the myriad of issues it brings for both patient and caregiver. She joined support groups initially as an information seeker, but eventually became an indispensable source of information, support, empathy and guidance to hundreds of patients and caregivers.
After Keith’s passing in 2014, Therese continued to channel her energy into helping others. She began volunteering for ACPMP in 2015 and joined the ACPMP Board of Directors in 2016, serving as Vice President and the primary patient support contact for the organization.
Therese and her family organized an annual Pub Crawl in their hometown of Naperville, IL to benefit ACPMP. All in, between memorial donations and the Team Keith pub crawls, over $35,000 has been raised in Keith’s memory towards appendix cancer and PMP education and research. Therese’s support of patients and caregivers over the past several years is legendary.
Here’s what some of the people she’s helped along the way had to say:
Therese offered us all calm, reassuring wisdom and a willingness to repeat over and over, tirelessly, the same information as new people joined, frightened about what it all meant. -JB
Anytime I had questions or worries, I could count on Therese to reassure and calm my fears. -TA
Therese’s comments were calm and logical with a solid knowledge of this condition…I often suggested that “she mothered us all” even at a time when she was going through the very worst time in her own life. -MH
Therese always came through calm, kind, informational and supportive: she was honest with her experience and was loving in ours. She made a huge positive impact on my journey. -ML
Therese always has the right words, the best advice and clearly has a huge heart. -AH
Therese helped save my life…she is one of the most selfless and thoughtful people I know. -JM
Therese is a calm, caring, thoughtful presence who truly cares and shares great insights in orderto help others. -MB
Therese has a gift for writing and touching a person by the way she can put emotions into words. By openly sharing her experiences, she provides so much support to those around her. She is simply the most thoughtful, caring person and having given so much of herself for so long to help others. -SG
Therese is a woman of character, funny, supportive, informed, always willing to help, someone who can show love and also nip controversy in the bud…I am so very honored and blessed to know this wonderful “angel” on earth! -LM
Therese always knows the right thing to say to someone with a devastating diagnosis. Keith’s experience gave her a vast understanding of this disease that only a caregiver could understand. -ER
Therese has been a wonderful advocate both on the public forum and behind the scenes. Her show of compassion and respect is not only helpful, she has led by example, setting the stage for how to be a more thoughtful and compassionate person. -RB
Therese has always been kind and full of helpful information. Thank you for all the good things you’ve put out into the world, Therese. -SJ
ACPMP is so grateful to Therese for her service to the Foundation and her support of patients all over the world. While Therese is no longer an active board member, we are grateful that she will stay on as a “Board Member Emeritus” in recognition of her importance to ACPMP and the appendix cancer/PMP community.