DENVER — Three months ago, a mother packed up her car and moved from Boston to Colorado to be closer to her daughter and soon-to-be grandson.
Two months after she moved, she was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Her time is running out, and her final wish is to travel like a tourist across Colorado. But her oxygen tank has her grounded.
Susan Coppola, 61, spent more than four decades dreaming of a life in the Mile High City after visiting in her 20s. She is a self-described explorer, and her photos are proof.
When Coppola arrived in Denver, she could drive and breathe on her own. Now, she requires oxygen around the clock, and even the easiest task is exhausting.
“I miss being able to just get up and make coffee for myself because some days I can’t,” Coppola said.
Doctors diagnosed Coppola with stage 4 small cell lung carcinoma on July 17. They fear she may not make it through Christmas, but Coppola is determined to push through another year.
She plans to fill her time making memories with her kids and her grandson, Rocket, who's due in just a few days. Coppola wants to create and document moments her family can cherish when she’s no longer alive.
“I am not afraid to die, I just don’t want to go now. I want more time,” Coppola said. “I want to do everything I can, explore every day and spend as much time with my children and my friends as I possibly can because life is a gift, and memories are the most precious gift we will ever give our children.”
Coppola wants to travel across Colorado, but her current oxygen tanks only last about 45 minutes each and weigh about 10 pounds.
Her daughter, Casey Coppola, set up a GoFundMe to raise money to buy her mother a portable oxygen tank that will allow her to travel for extended periods of time. The oxygen tank the family has in mind costs between $4,000 and $6,000 with accessories.
In just a few days, the Coppola family raised nearly $8,000.
“I’m seeing an outpouring of support and love that I didn’t think I deserved, and it’s overwhelming,” Coppola said.
The family hopes to raise even more money to help Coppola travel. Coppola wants to visit Colorado Springs, Aspen, Vail, Trinidad and hopes to make it out to San Diego before she takes her last breath. But for now, she said she just can’t wait for her Rocket to be born.