A birthday remembrance, from a sister to her hero

The following was sent on May 8 to NYSNA from Lorelie Villapaña, sister of Susan Sisgundo, a NYSNA Nurse who fell victim this past April to COVID-19. The occassion was what would have been Susan's 51st birthday. Susan is included in our “In Memoriam: Fallen NYSNA Nurses” remembrance.

Susan Sisgundo, RN

“Hers is a typical OFW (overseas Filipino worker) story. When she arrived in the US, she had to work day in, day out… any type of work to sustain her. Since she couldn't find a decent and stable job, even if she graduated with a BS in Economics, the health profession appealed to her and she pursued nursinge. She’s was juggling several jobs while studying. I recall she would call and tell me of her countless hours studying and working on projects, and then she would go to work. There were times that she was so tired that she skipped classes, slept while in class, and she sometimes missed important lessons/exams and took special exams the next day after working double-time. After several years of perseverance, she finally graduated, took the nursing licensure exam, passed, and finally landed her dream job. She shared with me that she still had plans for advancing her career, God willing.”

“While working as a registered nurse in the hospital, her former employers would call her, asking for help and offering part-time jobs. On top of that, because she loves cooking, she enrolled in various cooking lessons and offered catering services for small gatherings of close friends. All these she balanced, and in between, she never failed to visit the family in the Philippines on important occasions.”

“Coming from a big family with parents belonging to the low-income class, it’s was her dream to land a good job, realize her dreams and help out the family. I personally am one of the beneficiaries of her help in supported me through college. That never stopped; until her last breath, she helped our nieces and nephews with their studies and considered them as her own. By helping the family, she became content and stayed single.”

“We will miss her strong personality, straightforwardness, and being loud. She was a positive and sincere person which made her easy to like and love. A very joyful person… when she was around, she was the life of a party.”

“Very outgoing, love traveling, shopping, and cooking. Very hard working, passionate about her work and giving 100% dedication in everything she did.”

“Very thoughtful and generous, not just to her family but to so many others. She wouldn’t forget one’s birthday with gifts. No matter how tired, she would cook and bring food to everybody. Working as a nurse is a tiring vocation, even if she hadn't slept or came straight from her shift, she would wait for a her colleagues and give them rides to their homes and never forgot to fetch them when going to work.”

“She had so much love to give and with a big heart for everybody, especially to her very unwell and critically ill neonatal patients.”

“She is dearly missed!”