Let me introduce you to a phenomenal woman who lives in our Rogers, AR House of Three, facilitated by Shane and Jennifer Edwards. At seventy-years-old, Susan Hazard is an inspiration every day to people around her as she navigates through life with no arms or legs.
Let’s go back to Derby, NY, a small town twenty miles south of Buffalo. As a child, Susan frequented her uncle’s cabin on a pristine lake where she and her older brothers, Robert and Ollie, would boat, swim and fish. Many fond memories were created at that cabin.
Susan loved all animals. She enjoyed dressing barn cats up in doll clothes and inherited more dogs than she can remember. Horses were some of her favorites. She competed in many horse show events, but she especially loved the jumping event.
Her love of animals influenced her to go to school and work for a two-year degree as a veterinarian assistant. She then received a BA in Nutrition and Food Management and oversaw the care of nutrition in a home with four children that needed extra care. As much as she loved what she did with those degrees she had a desire to be a massage therapist so she became licensed and worked in Bentonville for 23 years before retiring. She absolutely loved this work and could have done it forever.
Although work was fulfilling, Susan has a generous heart and so she volunteered with International School Project from 2007-2017. With this organization Susan and others would travel to various countries and share their curriculum with public school teachers all across the world. The curriculum is called Dream Makers/Dream Breakers. Children were taught to write down their dreams for today, tomorrow, a week from now and years from now. They learned that these dreams were achievable unless bad choices prohibited them from becoming a reality. Teachers reported back to International School Project that many children had a positive change in behavior. During this time, Susan made a total of 23 trips.
Another organization near and dear to Susan’s heart is Care and Share, whom she worked with from 2014-2017. Their mission is similar to Salvation Army. Volunteers help get electricity on for folks who have hit hard times, serve in a food pantry, provide 3 outfits for each individual in need and gave money to the local Boys and Girls Club.
As you can see, Susan has a heart of gold. Her passion is helping others no matter the cost.
One night, Susan’s generosity would change her life forever. On October 3, 2017 Susan was home when she heard a knock at her front door. The voice on the other side was a man who said his car had broken down and he needed to use her phone. Susan was careful to crack the door and toss her phone out. He made a phone call and as he was giving the phone back he pushed his way into her home. The next five hours would be the worst hours of Susan’s life. She was brutally attacked all while a cloth was around her face and neck preventing her from seeing.
Susan prayed silently to God saying, “God, I want to live but if it’s not your will, I know I will be with you.”
The man left the next morning and Susan wondered who to call. Almost immediately a friend from Care and Share called because Susan wasn’t there and she never missed being with the group. Her friend came and took her to the hospital. Doctors didn’t think Susan would live because she now had blood poisoning. Her hands and feet were losing blood flow and she was advised to have both arms and both legs amputated.
Susan asked her primary doctor to come in so she could visit with him about her hands. After all, she was a massage therapist and needed her hands to be able to make a living. He ultimately said her hands needed to go.
The next months were extremely hard. Susan spent three months in the hospital, 100 days in rehab followed by two more weeks in rehab and finally moved to House of Three for her physical therapy.
When you meet Susan you know she belongs to the Lord. She gives Him all the glory and honor for what He has brought her through. She praises God for being able to recall all the details for the detectives. They found the man the day after the attack. His trial was July 2018. He had three other counts against him in which he will serve life for all four plus 20 years.
Susan says, “God is ALWAYS faithful. He helps me day by day. I am able to forgive because of God’s power. Jesus gives us the command to forgive for our own good.”
Her favorite scripture is found in Romans 8:28. Paul says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Although Susan’s days look much different today, she continues to be thankful. She mentors children and teaches them to practice perseverance. She had the pleasure of meeting a young boy with amputated legs. He was struggling with wearing his prosthetics and Susan was able to encourage him. She understands these struggles and finds it important to help lift those around her with similar difficulties.
In Susan’s spare time she enjoys getting outside and walking. She has an event coming up in April at the Bentonville High School track. Her goal is to walk three miles. When asked if she feels like taking a walk her response is, “I’m always ready to walk. I’m just waiting for someone to ask.” What an amazing inspiration of a woman!