Susan was born in the small town of Franklin, Kentucky and studied education at the University of Kentucky. With a bad case of wanderlust, she moved to New York City to pursue a job in the airline industry. Susie made her home in Albuquerque, New Mexico after a 20 year career with two major airlines. This Baptist girl met and married a Norwegian Lutheran, John Sandager, from North Dakota who shared her interest in Israel and the Jewish people. Her biggest accomplishment is their son Smith, who although was born with Down Syndrome, has grown into a successful, productive individual with exemplary character. The Sandagers are a blended family with four adult children, their spouses, and four young grandchildren.
Susie Sandager had no theatrical background, no acting experience, and a healthy dose of stage fright. What burned within her was a deep love for the Jewish people and an intense desire for Christians to support Israel and it's people. She and her husband, John, founded a non-profit, non-proselytizing organization called YAD B'YAD (Hebrew for Hand in Hand). At a performance sponsored by YAD B'YAD, a professional actress portrayed the late Golda Meir. It was so captivating that Susie arranged to meet the actress for lunch and convince her that she should add Corrie Ten Boom to her repertoire. Having just read The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom's autobiography, Susie was convinced this was a great idea. Lunch went well and the actress listened intently as Susie passionately painted the picture she envisioned for Corrie's message. She had even brought a tape recording of Corrie's rich, Dutch-accented voice. The actress showed signs of genuine interest, and could envision Susie's dream. She looked Susie in the eye and said, "This woman must be portrayed! I see it all! But I could never play it. I am Jewish. The role demands a Christian who loves Israel! This is your role." The actress went on to explain that it must come from the heart, and that she would teach Susie everything else, including how to act. Feeling deflated by this absurd idea, Susie made a mental list of all the valid reasons why she could not do it. Her last thought was, "At 5'7" I am too tall." Always imagining Corrie to be short, Susie was stunned to learned Corrie was exactly 5'7"! It became even more personal when Susie learned one of Corrie's primary ministries prior to WWII was giving Bible lessons to mentally challenged children. Corrie even wrote a book about her experiences, Common Sense Not Needed. This insight deeply touched Susie, as her only biological child was born with Down Syndrome. Seeing the sign she needed, Susie looked heavenward and said, "I will try."
Sharing the life and legacy of the late Corrie Ten Boom is Susie's passion. In addition to her study of the Holocaust history, including a scholarship to Yad VaShem (the Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Jerusalem) she has studied the Ten Boom family extensively and interviewed those who knew Corrie. Susan has written and developed several presentations based on the Ten Boom family which are presented as one-woman shows. She has had the opportunity to take the "Corrie" stories to churches, synagogues, prisons and schools all over the United States, as well as to Canada, England, Wales, Israel, Ireland, Switzerland and South Africa. Most recently, Susie was honored to present her Corrie show at Parliament in London.
With no formal acting training, but with a calling she could not ignore, Susie has made it her mission to share the Ten Boom family story of moral courage, simple faith, hope, love and reconciliation to serve as a beacon of light and hope in the world.