A Family Affair: "Team Suss and Us"

Maryland Athletics
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By Melissa Katz, Maryland Athletics Media Relations

Shari-Beth Susskind beat the odds. After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer seven years ago, she not only beat the cancer, but fought to get back on her feet in what seems to be record time. What should have been a few month recovery period for Shari-Beth after surgery turned out to be a few weeks, as the mother of three was back at work, as a personal trainer, within a couple weeks. Along with her son, Jacob Susskind of the Maryland men’s basketball team, she has made it a point to fight every day to raise awareness and find a cure for ovarian cancer.

“My mom is a very strong and powerful woman,” said Jacob. “She can do anything she puts her mind to."

After her recovery, Shari-Beth set out to make a difference in the community and help raise awareness for ovarian cancer. She started to organize a 5K benefiting the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition (NOCC) in her town of West Orange, New Jersey. Over the past seven years the run has grown to almost 900 runners and has raised a total of almost one million dollars. The Susskind family team, ‘Team Suss and Us’, has over 100 runners participating in the 5K. The team also has ‘Team Suss and Us’ t-shirts made up, which according to Shari-Beth, Jacob wears quite often.

“Since Jacob wears the ‘Team Suss and Us’ t-shirts we had the idea to get everyone on the team a shirt,” Shari-Beth said. “So my husband, Jeff, sent them down to the team and Jacob took a picture of everyone wearing them and posted it to twitter. Since then, it has just taken off.”

Multiple news outlets picked up the picture and started to spread Shari-Beth’s story. The local NOCC chapter also heard about the story and saw it as the perfect opportunity to get involved with the Maryland men’s basketball team as well as the Susskind family.

“Being in a big school like Maryland gives us the opportunity to have an impact on ovarian cancer awareness and it’s great,” Jacob said.  

The Terrapins have partnered with the NOCC to help raise awareness and promote education about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. During halftime of the Terrapins Wednesday evening match-up against Miami, Shari-Beth Susskind along with NOCC representatives will be recognized on the court. Throughout the game symptoms and statistics will be announced over the PA system, and put up on the video board. NOCC also has a table set up dedicated to educating Maryland fans on the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer.

“This is my goal to raise awareness, and to be able to do it at a Maryland game, it’s crazy,” Shari-Beth said. “To me, it’s overwhelming how so much good can come out of these kids for such a great cause.”