Susana’s journey as an entrepreneur began when she was nine years old in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Her family lived in extreme poverty and from a very young age, Susie knew she needed to work in order to survive. The intrepid entrepreneur sold newspapers in the street, washed cars and cleaned houses.
“I have always been a fighter,” she said.
Life would later take Susie to Del Valle, Texas, where she now lives with her husband and three children in a trailer park.
Susie’s home is well-known by the kids around the block. Her porch became a small Mexican-style store a few years ago. She sells canned food, cleaning supplies, refreshments and of course, candy.
“I started my business as a way to pay for my chemotherapies,” she said.
When she was 35 years old Susie was diagnosed with breast cancer. “It is a disease I never thought I could have,” she said.
During this time, Susie met a friend who told her about an organization that could maybe help her grow her business. And this is how the entrepreneur was introduced to JUST and the women who would later become her support group.
“There is always so much joy in our meetings. I sometimes wish for them not to end,” she said.
After four years and eight chemotherapies, Susie beat breast cancer and continued to grow her business. She turned her backyard into a weekend restaurant and things seemed to be going great– until they were not.
“I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” she said.
Towards the end of 2019 doctors told Susie this time the cancer was terminal. Almost two years have passed since her diagnosis, and for a while, Susie seemed to be getting better. But then the pandemic hit and she got infected with COVID-19.
“It has been eight months since I was infected, my health only seems to be getting worse, but I am not giving up,” she said. “I’m enjoying every single minute that passes. I wake up to watch my kids sleeping, it makes me feel happy knowing I am still here for them.”
Susie is set on leaving a legacy for her children by continuing to operate her store and restaurant. She was also recently featured on FOX7 as a local change maker for leading an essential items swap campaign in her neighborhood during the pandemic.
The powerful entrepreneur finalized our interview with a few words she would like to dedicate to other people going through difficult times.
“Get rid of the negative thoughts, they sink you. Own your life, invest, not only your money, but also your time and thoughts,” she said. “But most importantly, enjoy each minute.”