Melissa Surdez, Metastatic Liver & Warrior, Ready for the 2019 Komen CSNJ MORE THAN PINK Walk
Written by Juliana Baumann, a guest blogger for Komen CSNJ and a Women’s Leadership student at Clemson University
Motivational, kind, authentic, resilient and passionate — these are just a few of the words used to describe Melissa Surdez, Komen CSNJ supporter, board of directors member and the 2017 MORE THAN PINK Walk host and event top fundraiser.
Melissa’s accomplishment list is exceptional and her larger-than-life personality can fill a room with smiles in an instant. Melissa is a high-energy, true to heart Jersey girl who’s positive, go-getter attitude has led her through life, even through the toughest times.
“Life is amazing and people are incredible,” said Melissa. “We are made up of thousands of stories that make us who we are and I love hearing those stories. More importantly, I love to tell my stories.”
Since 2012, Melissa has been living with metastatic breast cancer — cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other organs in the body. In the U.S., it’s estimated that more than 154,000 women have metastatic breast cancer. Empowering herself and others, Melissa refers to those with metastatic breast cancer as “metastatic livers” and warriors — perfectly reflecting the strength and resilience of those who keep on keeping on in the face of cancer.
Melissa Surdez will be joining Komen CSNJ at the MORE THAN PINK Walk this Sunday, November 3rd at Six Flags Great Adventure. She spends her days giving back to others and lifting people up, making her the perfect MORE THAN PINK Walk host. Melissa will be leading the day’s moving program, including the Walk’s opening ceremony, sharing stories of survivorship, inspiring confidence in attendees and rallying for the Komen CSNJ mission.
She was the event’s top fundraiser, raising over $28,000 for the fight against breast cancer.
“I am proud to support Komen CSNJ and spread the message that Komen CSNJ is MORE THAN PINK,” said Melissa.
Melissa first became involved with the Komen CSNJ Affiliate as a keynote speaker at the second annual IMPACT Luncheon, inspiring others with her journey as a woman living with metastatic breast cancer. Passionate about connecting with breast cancer survivors and metastatic livers, Melissa currently serves on Komen CSNJ’s Board of Directors and is inspired to make a bigger, more positive impact in the lives of those affected by the cancer.
“What excites me as someone who has cancer, and will always have cancer, is that I will be able to make really delicious lemonade out of those lemons and make an impact,” said Melissa. “Whatever good I can do in this role, I am all in for it.”
Melissa Surdez truly lives her life all in.
Melissa travels around the world in her current role as Global Head of Human Resources for the Technology Function and Digital Health Technology at Johnson & Johnson. She was awarded the Johnson & Johnson 2017 Working Mother of the Year Award, which celebrated her humor and inspiration as a collaborative and exceptional leader in the company, while understanding the value of family and friends. Melissa refers to her family as her “anchors,” praising her husband Lance, two children Quinn and Brielle, family and many friends for their incredible support and unconditional love.
One of Melissa’s strongest calls to action for others is to live every day like it’s the best day ever. This includes celebrating the little things and tiny life moments that might get overlooked in the busy day-to-day.
“Celebrate those little wins, those tiny life moments that for the most part you never really gave much thought to before,” said Melissa.
Living life to the fullest and being the best version of yourself is one of the biggest encouragements Melissa shares to others who are living with metastatic breast cancer. It’s not surprising she is also a certified life coach, leading others to be their best selves as she strives to as well.
We admire Melissa for being real, saying what she sees and inspiring so many with her positive, empowering mindset and lifestyle. Thank you to Melissa for your support of Komen CSNJ — and we can’t wait to have an incredible day at the MORE THAN PINK Walk on Sunday, November 3!
Join Melissa Surdez and Komen CSNJ at the MORE THAN PINK Walk to support those fighting breast cancer: komencsnj.org/walk
Melissa Surdez has also given an awesome TED Talk! Check it out below for more insight on Melissa’s journey and how she lives her life being radically real, saying what she sees, building deep connections with those around her, and living life to the fullest!