LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) — Burglars raided the home of a cancer survivor in Lakeside, stealing her road bike days before she was planning on competing in a triathlon.
In a home off Valle Vista Road, Susan Sterger made a wrenching discovery on Sunday night.
"When I walked into my bedroom, everything was torn apart." said Susanna Sterger, choking back tears.
She and her roommates were cleaned out. Laptops, jewelry, clothes were stolen. She ran to the garage and her heart sank.
"Just felt really angry and violated," said Sterger.
Missing from the garage: her triathlon bike, wet suit, running clothes, and even her shoes - everything she needed to compete in a triathlon on Sunday in Solana Beach.
"Everything I worked so hard for, I thought was taken from me in one moment," said Sterger.
Four years ago, she experienced another heart-stopping moment: a diagnosis of cervical cancer.
She went through many rounds of chemotherapy. The cancer returned five different times.
"It's been really hard not to give up," said Sterger.
She didn't and this May, doctors told her she was in remission. She began another battle - another tests of sorts - to train for a triathlon, her second in nine years.
"I want this with everything in my body," said Sterger.
It's a goal she thought she'd never reach after the burglary. But through social media, something remarkable happened. Friends and strangers lent and donated her everything she needed, including a bike rental for the day.
"Don't have the words to describe the gratitude in my heart ... and I will be at that start line Sunday!" said Sterger.
Sterger says neighbors saw a large group of teenage boys walking out of the home carrying stuff that night. Deputies say one of the boys has been arrested. If you have any information on the case, call the Lakeside Sheriff's substation at 619-956-4000.
A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help Sterger buy a new triathlon bicycle.