FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA) — March is International Women’s Month and in celebration, we’re honoring local women who create change and inspire us all.
We received over 20 nominations for the 2020 Woman of the Year award but only four could be named finalists.
Tonight, we begin showcasing each of them. We start with Susan Chase, whose scars from the past fuel her giving heart.
A bra can change a life, just ask Susan Chase. She collects piles of them every year.
“A lot of those women leave the home to save their lives and they don’t have anything,” Chase Family Foundation Susan Chase says.
Each bra expressing support, compassion, and strength from one domestic violence survivor to another.
“He beat me, pretty severely. He broke both jaws, my nose, I have 48 screws in my face holding everything together,” Chase says.
That experience, coupled with a bleak breast cancer diagnosis four years ago, helped create Help the Girls.
“I guess, my calling in a way, because I could’ve easily been killed that night he beat me,” Chase says.
Bras collected at the annual event go to the NWA Women’s Shelter and Peace at Home Family Shelter.
The first year it was 200 bras. Last year there were more than a thousand.
“She tries to look at everything in the positive light more than any person I know in my whole life and she lives that, she lives like that every day,” Dr. John Bakker, VP of the Chase Family Foundation says.
Susan moves forward with grace despite the level of suffering and tragedy she endures.
“Losing her father early, then losing her sister, then her mom coming down with cancer. And then their financial advisor stealing millions of dollars from them,” Dr. Bakker says.
With a broken heart, nearly no money, and on the verge of homelessness, Susan kept going.
Eventually, she created the Chase Family Foundation to honor her late loved ones and her Christian upbringing.
“We always helped, even though we couldn’t sometimes afford to help others, we always did because we believe the money that we have is God’s and we are his stewards,” Chase says.
From delivering meals to homebound seniors, to buying furniture for the elderly and giving to homeless shelters and to animals needing homes, Susan is creating a legacy of selflessness and humility.
“We couldn’t do what we do without friends and there’s not one of us that gets paid a cent,” Chase says. “To help others, that’s what we’re here for I believe.”
We’ll feature the three remaining Remarkable Women finalists each Tuesday right here on KNWA. Then, we announce our winner and candidate for the nationwide 2020 Woman of the Year award on March 6.