Sue Miller (cancer activist)

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Sue Miller
Natalie Sue Miller

(1934-03-07)March 7, 1934
DiedMay 29, 2017(2017-05-29) (aged 83)
Denver, Colorado
Burial placeMt. Nebo Cemetery [1]
ResidenceDenver, Colorado
Other namesSue Miller Cohen
EducationB.A., human services, University of Denver, 1994
M.A., counseling psychology and education, University of Denver, 2009
OccupationFashion model, breast cancer activist, counselor, author
Years active1953—2010s
Known forSue Miller Day of Caring
Spouse(s)Alan S. Miller
Alan "Skip" Sigman
Harold Cohen
Awards Colorado Women's Hall of Fame, 2002

Natalie Sue Miller (March 7, 1934 – May 29, 2017) was an American fashion model, breast cancer survivor, breast cancer activist, counselor, and author. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, she moved to Denver, Colorado at age 19 as a newlywed and started a career in fashion modeling. After being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 34 and undergoing a mastectomy, she created a fashion show featuring models who had also had breast cancer. In 1981, she founded the Sue Miller Day of Caring, a non-profit organization for breast cancer education and awareness. In its first 35 years, the Day of Caring has been a resource for over 17,500 survivors of breast cancer, providing educational forums and support services at its annual event, held in nine U.S. cities. Miller earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at age 60 and 75, respectively, and wrote her autobiography, I'm Tougher Than I Look, in 2004. In 2002, Miller was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame.

Model (person) person employed to display, advertise and promote products, or to serve as a visual aid

A model is a person with a role either to promote, display or advertise commercial products, or to serve as a visual aid for people who are creating works of art or to pose for photography.

Breast cancer cancer that originates in the mammary gland

Breast cancer is cancer that develops from breast tissue. Signs of breast cancer may include a lump in the breast, a change in breast shape, dimpling of the skin, fluid coming from the nipple, a newly inverted nipple, or a red or scaly patch of skin. In those with distant spread of the disease, there may be bone pain, swollen lymph nodes, shortness of breath, or yellow skin.

Kansas City, Missouri City in western Missouri

Kansas City is the largest city in the U.S. state of Missouri. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city had an estimated population of 488,943 in 2017, making it the 37th most-populous city in the United States. It is the central city of the Kansas City metropolitan area, which straddles the Kansas–Missouri state line. Kansas City was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River coming in from the west. On June 1, 1850 the town of Kansas was incorporated; shortly after came the establishment of the Kansas Territory. Confusion between the two ensued and the name Kansas City was assigned to distinguish them soon after.


Early life and marriage

Miller was born March 7, 1934, in Kansas City, Missouri. [1] [2] Her family moved several times during her childhood due to her father's work; she spent her teen years in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. [2] In 1953, at age 19, she married Alan Miller and they moved to Denver. [1] [2]

Oklahoma City State capital city in Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 643,648 as of July 2017. As of 2015, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,358,452, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,459,758 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest metropolitan area.

Denver State capital and consolidated city-county in Colorado, United States

Denver, officially the City and County of Denver, is the capital and most populous municipality of the U.S. state of Colorado. Denver is located in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The Denver downtown district is immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek with the South Platte River, approximately 12 mi (19 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Denver is named after James W. Denver, a governor of the Kansas Territory, and it is nicknamed the Mile High City because its official elevation is exactly one mile above sea level. The 105th meridian west of Greenwich, the longitudinal reference for the Mountain Time Zone, passes directly through Denver Union Station.

Modeling career

Miller first appeared as a model in a television ad for a local store when she was 13. She was offered a contract to model for a Neiman Marcus store in Dallas when she was 17, but her parents did not want her to move to Texas. After she and her husband moved to Denver, she signed with the John Robert Powers modeling agency and with JF Images and had a successful career. [2]

Neiman Marcus American luxury specialty department store

Neiman Marcus Group, Inc., originally Neiman-Marcus, is an American chain of luxury department stores owned by the Neiman Marcus Group, headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The company also owns the Bergdorf Goodman department stores and operates a direct marketing division, Neiman Marcus Direct, which operates catalog and online operations under the Horchow, Neiman Marcus, and Bergdorf Goodman names. Neiman Marcus is currently owned by the Toronto-based Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Los Angeles-based Ares Management.

Dallas City in Texas, United States

Dallas is a city in the U.S. state of Texas. With an estimated 2017 population of 1,341,075, it is the ninth most-populous city in the U.S. and third in Texas after Houston and San Antonio. Dallas is the main core of the largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States and the largest inland metropolitan area in the U.S. that lacks any navigable link to the sea. It is the most populous city in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country at 7.3 million people as of 2017. Dallas is the seat of Dallas County. Sections of the city extend into Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall counties.

John Robert Powers American talent agent

John Robert Powers an American actor and founder of a New York City-based modeling agency.

Breast cancer survivor and activist

I wanted to let people know that surviving breast cancer doesn't just mean living, it means living well.

–Sue Miller [3]

At age 34, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a bilateral mastectomy. [1] [2] At that time, breast cancer was perceived as fatal and even contagious, and Miller stopped receiving modeling jobs due to the scarring. [2] When she was asked by a woman in a prosthesis store to put together a fashion show for them, she agreed on a condition: all the models must be women who had had breast cancer. [2] She and five other women did a "Survivors Fashion Show" for bridge clubs and luncheons; [2] she distributed cards reading, "Cancer is not catching and we're still beautiful". [1]

Mastectomy surgical removal of one or both breasts

Mastectomy is the medical term for the surgical removal of one or both breasts, partially or completely.

Prosthesis artificial device that replaces a missing body part

In medicine, a prosthesis or prosthetic implant is an artificial device that replaces a missing body part, which may be lost through trauma, disease, or is a condition present at birth. Prostheses are intended to restore the normal functions of the missing body part. Amputee rehabilitation is primarily coordinated by a physiatrist as part of a inter-disciplinary team consisting of physiatrists, prosthetists, nurses, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Prostheses can be created by hand or with CAD, a software interface that helps creators visualize the creation in a 3D form.

At a show in the Jewish Community Center in 1980, she met Joan Camp, a nurse who was trying to spread breast cancer awareness, and decided to add an educational aspect to the fashion show. [2] In 1981, they mounted the first Day of Caring. [2] It included the fashion show, a boutique, a resource center, discussion groups, seminars and workshops, a silent auction, and the sale of handicrafts to benefit the organization. [3] [4] [5] Day of Caring was the first nonprofit to be established for breast cancer awareness and education in Colorado. [1] [6]

Breast cancer awareness effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer

Breast cancer awareness is an effort to raise awareness and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education on symptoms and treatment. Supporters hope that greater knowledge will lead to earlier detection of breast cancer, which is associated with higher long-term survival rates, and that money raised for breast cancer will produce a reliable, permanent cure.

The Day of Caring became an annual event, held in nine cities in the United States. [7] By 2017, the Day of Caring was drawing thousands of attendees and the organization had reached out to over 17,500 patients and survivors of breast cancer, with educational forums and support services. [1] [6] Miller headed the organization until 2002, when she suffered a mild stroke. [1] After her death in 2017, the organization merged with the Cancer League of Colorado. [6]

In the 1970s, Miller established a Denver telephone network called Pre-surgical Partners, which connected breast cancer survivors with breast cancer patients to offer friendship and support during the treatment process. [7] On the legislative front, Miller lobbied for a state bill requiring health care organizations to offer mammograms to women over 40, which successfully passed, and for the federal government to fund breast cancer research. [5] [7]


At the age of 60, Miller earned her B.A. in human services at the University of Denver. [1] At age 75, she earned her M.A. in counseling psychology and counselor education at the same institution. [1] She did her internship with The Denver Hospice and then opened a private counseling practice. [8]

Awards and honors

In 2002, Miller was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame. [1] [7] She has also received the Arthritis Foundation's Sabin Award, [9] given in memory of Florence R. Sabin to someone who has benefited the health of people in Colorado. [10] She received the Bea Romer Women's Health Leadership Award, [7] given by the Colorado Women's Health Campaign; [11] the Jacque Mattson Volunteer Award, [7] given by the Denver affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure; [12] and the Savvy Award for Outstanding Volunteerism. [7]

Personal life

Miller had three children with her first husband, Alan S. Miller (1932–1995), who predeceased her. She was widowed from her second husband, Alan "Skip" Sigman (1931–2005). She married Harold Cohen in January 2006; [3] [4] he survived her. [1] [13]

She died on May 29, 2017, at the age of 83, in Denver, Colorado. [1]


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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 "Sue Miller". Intermountain Jewish News . June 8, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Keesee, Tracie (April 23, 2014). "Former fashion model Sue Miller hosts a Day of Caring for breast cancer survivors". Westword . Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 Koontz, Nancy (April 27, 2006). "Have You Met? Sue Miller Cohen". Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  4. 1 2 Davidson, Joanne (April 12, 2006). "Sue Miller's Day of Caring going strong after 25 years". The Denver Post . Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  5. 1 2 Davidson, Joanne (March 12, 2014). "Sue Miller's Evening of Caring: Focus on life after breast cancer". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 "Sue Miller Day of Caring". Cancer League of Colorado. 2016. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Sue Miller". Colorado Women's Hall of Fame. 2018. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  8. "Meet Sue Miller". The Denver Hospice. Retrieved December 26, 2018.
  9. Davidson, Joanne. "Race for Cure funds tallied". Denver Post. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  10. "Commencement" (PDF). University of Denver at Denver and Health Sciences Center. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  11. Shelton, Karen (February 22, 2011). "The Mommy Makeover To Reverse Effects Of Pregnancy On The Body". HairBoutique. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  12. "Breast Canc er Survivors, Co - Survivors and S upporters gather ed at the Komen Denver Race for the Cure to support the fight against breath cancer" (PDF). Denver Metropolitan Affiliate. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  13. "Natalie Sue Miller". The Denver Post. May 31, 2017. Retrieved December 26, 2018.