With Love and Gratitude We Remember Susan Axler


On August 17, 2017 our community lost another courageous Forever Fighter to metastatic breast cancer. Susan Axler touched so many lives with her advocacy, her sharing and her voice, and was an endless source of empowerment for Komen Philadelphia’s metastatic breast cancer mission. While she will be missed we forge ahead—fueled by her lessons and legacy—to stop the cancer that kills.

My mother was a special person and impacted many through her amazing commitment to the cause of helping others in Philadelphia afflicted with advanced metastatic breast cancer.

My mother was not at all one to brag (ever) but, in the midst of her VERY serious illness, she made the point of forwarding to me and my brother an email that memorialized her work by setting out a sampling of the work she has done for this cause so that we, her adult kids, would know what she has done. And, while she had other passions as well and touched many people other than just metastatic cancer patients, the metastatic cause was what was crucial to her life these last 20+ years. 

My family and are our proud to share my mother’s obituary with the Komen Philadelphia community—and we are grateful for the opportunities and support this community has given her, as well as all of us who loved her. Our hope is that everyone who reads this finds courage and strength in the story of her life and with Komen Philadelphia continues to fight the fight that will one day bring a cure for this disease. 

— Eric Axler

Susan Karen (Myers) Axler, an active metastatic breast cancer patient advocate for over 17 years and wife of Michael Axler for 49, died on Thursday, August 17, 2017.  She was 70. 

Susan was an energetic mother of two, grandmother of four, and former Neshaminy School District teacher who inspired all who knew her. 

Born in Philadelphia, she grew up in Lansdowne, raised a family in Richboro, PA, and then lived for the most recent 12 years in Brigantine, NJ, and then Philadelphia.

She had a passion for literature, music, and poetry, motivating her students, family, and friends, always. Beset with repeated cancer diagnoses and other ailments, Susan channeled her passion and energy in her later years to helping metastatic breast cancer patients — and she made a huge impact.

While living in Brigantine, Susan was a leader with the South Jersey Cancer Fund, which raised money for cancer patients to help them afford necessities.  Then, she helped advance the part of the American Cancer Society’s “Reach to Recovery” program aimed at providing information and (positive) life experiences to recently-diagnosed metastatic breast cancer patients — as a volunteer and mentor, she showed people how to carry on and even thrive with this terrible news in hand, while also providing important practical information.  Susan interacted constantly with other patients, making countless friends, and motivated many to, themselves, volunteer.

Not letting a lack of formal science education be a barrier, Susan became a patient advocate grant reviewer for the National Institute of Health, U.S. Department of Defense, the Susan G. Komen organization, and University of Pennsylvania — working long hours on reviewing technical research proposals, and participating in numerous breast cancer conferences, throughout the country, and review panels so as to provide a true view of breast cancer.  In this role, Susan traveled to conferences around the country, when not too ill from her own cancer condition, and worked for / with many other organizations not listed here.

Read more of Susan’s inspiring story shared in memory and celebration of her life on

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