STC started as a means to help Susan, a 30-something divorced mom with two young daughters and a diagnosis of a terminal cancer, it has blossomed into a model that can help people of all ages, no matter the circumstance.
Dr. Sukie Miller
Four years after Susan’s initial bout with cancer and subsequent surgery and radiation treatment, she reached a crisis. She had kept a big secret during those years– her cancer kept coming back. Sheila was the only one who knew this, but Susan swore her to secrecy. However, when Susan reached a crisis, it was her therapist, Dr. Sukie Miller who strongly suggested she get her friends to a meeting the next night to figure out how they might help.
12 friends showed up. Although they were strangers (to each other) at the start, three and a half years later they’d become sisters.
After Susan passed away, the group now widely known as “Susan’s Funny Family,” was asked to help another woman in a similar circumstance. She knew she would be unable to manage yet she had 20 friends who were willing to jump in, but they didn’t know where to begin.
Her call for help resulted in a special meeting of Susan’s Funny Family and the 20 men and women soon morphed into “Francine’s Funny Family.”
For Sheila and Cappy Capossela it was a déjà vu watching Francine’s friends arrive in various emotional states just
as their group had. By the end of the meeting Francine’s people were relaxed and excited after being given the roadmap on to how to share the care. That night everyone commented on how relieved they felt, and the room was permeating LOVE.
The next morning Sheila called Cappy to say how moving the experience had felt and how critical it was to document their systems, forms, principles and ways of sharing responsibilities their group had developed to carry them through Susan’s end-of-life journey. They knew that the heart of the model was to be found in that first meeting meant to cement everyone into a true TEAM. The result of that conversation was the book, Share The Care, first published by Simon & Schuster in 1995. The STC model provides information, forms and suggestions on how to maintain the group’s efforts over time. The goal was to make starting such a caregiving family easy to replicate and eliminate the need to reinvent the wheel.