Susan Burke, a beloved mother, community member, and running coach who inspired others with her kindness, positive attitude, and resiliency, passed away from colon cancer in July 2022. The Susan Burke Foundation for Colon Cancer Fund was established by the family of Susan Burke in July 2022 to support individuals with a colon cancer diagnosis and who are experiencing financial hardship.

Learn more about applying for support from this fund

Susan’s Story

Susan was born in Scranton and was involved in many community organizations including the Abington Heights Civic League and Habitat for Humanity. Susan worked as a personal trainer at Body Blueprint and she was a running coach at the Scranton Running company.

Susan loved her three children and grandchildren more than anything in the world. Susan taught her children not to take life too seriously and not to forget to laugh at yourself once in a while. She encouraged her children to “take one day at a time” focusing on the present, and to be the best person you could be. She lived these principles on a daily basis and encouraged all she met to be their best self. Anyone that met Susan was touched by her selflessness, kindness, generosity, smile, sense of humor, and infectious laugh. She brightened any room she walked into and she was able to make a complete stranger feel like family.

Susan was an avid runner and devoted her life to motivating and inspiring others to achieve their full potential. She completed hundreds of races including a triathlon, half-marathons, full marathons, and an ultra-marathon where she ran 76.5 miles over a 24-hour period. As a running coach and personal trainer, she was able to fulfill this devotion where she coached and helped mentor hundreds of runners.


Susan was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016. She fought for six years enduring six different chemotherapy regimens and eight surgeries. While undergoing these regimens and procedures Susan made it her personal mission to seek and reach out to individuals recently diagnosis with cancer. She extended her listening ear and helped them navigate the slew of emotions which occur after a diagnosis. She helped them find online support groups, offered them books, spoke to them frequently, and even showed up on their first day of chemo treatment with a small gift and a hug.

This is what makes Susan’s life story so inspirational and powerful. She endured so much after her diagnosis, so much pain, so much emotional stress, and yet she handled it all with such grace and dignity. Susan relied on her core values and became stronger and even more resilient than she ever was before. Even though so much was being taken away from her, she realized that she was even more capable than when she was healthy. She realized that her mind and spirit were stronger than her body, that she was capable of pushing herself to the absolute limit.

Before Susan’s passing, she asked her children to create a foundation to support local colon cancer patients. Susan wanted her mission of helping cancer patients to continue on. Susan’s goal of the foundation is to provide financial assistance to families in need and spread awareness of the importance of colon cancer screening.