Eleven cancer survivors and their caregivers or guests were whisked away to a Redondo Beach mansion this weekend and made a trip to the 86th Annual Academy Awards.
The trip was a gift from group Say Yes to Hope, an organization created by 15-year survivor Suzanne Lindley, to provide support for cancer survivors.
"It was an incredible time," said Sue Susz, a woman from Lemont, Ill. who made the trip. "It made me feel like a star, myself."
Sue Susz, who is still battling Stage IV colorectal cancer, was flown to Los Angeles, CA, Friday night and given celebrity treatment for the event—including a designer dress, custom jewelry, professional makeup and her own paparazzi. Jewelry was provided by Renee Howard, and hair and makeup by Diana Lomelin.
The mansion's owner stayed anonymous to the group, who were treated to professional hair and makeup, along with formal wear by designer Dalia MacPhee, and chauffeured around town.
The group was part of the ‘Gifting Suites’ that actors attended to grab their swag bags, as well as an Oscar viewing reception and party, and an exclusive roof-top after-party—where Susz rubbed elbows with the stars.
She chatted with "Everybody Loves Raymond" actress Doris Roberts, and made small talk with "Grey's Anatomy's" Dr. Webber, played by James Pickens, Jr.
The trip was a pleasant break for Susz, whose treatment has been ongoing over the last five years. Currently in her eighth week of a new round of treatment, Susz receives drugs via pump every Wednesday through Friday.
Her longevity with the cancer has previously been unheard of, she said, and doctors hope new treatments will recalibrate the cancer from "terminal" to "chronic."
In the meantime, her association with the organization helps cope with the ongoing treatments and undulations. Her connection with the founder has been invaluable, providing her support throughout her illness.
"It's an incredible opportunity," she said. "Just a great organization and a lot of wonderful people."
And in addition to a chance to mingle with the stars—she gets to keep the dress.