Type of Sarcoma: Angiosarcoma
Date of Diagnosis: 2018
Location: chest cavity
Sara Christensen grew up in Southwest Michigan. She attended an arts school, participating in theater and sports, playing piano, violin and French horn. Sara obtained her undergraduate degree in music education from Central Michigan University along with a master’s degree in music performance at Western Illinois University. Sara was always a helper at heart, and after a visit to Baltimore, Maryland she became interested in using her teaching degree and skills to help special needs kids. She spent the 2016/2017 school year as a special education assistant in Minneapolis before being granted a waiver to teach one of two special needs classrooms at Minneapolis North High School for the next school year.
However, at the end of the 2018 school year, Sara was feeling tired, run down and exhausted. She went to see a doctor, thinking she was just a tired teacher who gave her all to the kids in Minneapolis Public Schools, but this was not the case – she received a diagnosis of angiosarcoma at Regions Hospital. After 20 weeks of chemotherapy treatment, her tumor (located between her heart and lungs) was deemed inoperable. Sara was determined not to let the sarcoma define her.
Sara began volunteering for Rein in Sarcoma in 2019 with drive and purpose. Volunteering was nothing new as Sara had been volunteering in some capacity her entire life. Everyone who volunteered with Sara could feel her positive energy. We could feel that people mattered to her and she made them a priority. Kids, a nation with strong education and good health care for everyone mattered. Her family, dog Molly, and especially her husband, Alan – a guy who drove her crazy in the beginning and became her best friend, adventurer, advocate, confident and phenomenal care giver, mattered to her.
Sara knew herself well. Her confidence, brains and ability to cut to the chase, getting things done, was remarkable. In fact, everyone did remark on this… Sara had a rare inner strength and wisdom.
As summer came, Sara was no longer able to continue volunteering. As evidence of her dedication and impact, Sara was honored with the 2019 Rising Star Award, presented by the Minnesota DFL Women’s Hall of Fame just two days before she passed away. With her family close and holding Alan’s hand she peacefully left our world on July 24, 2019.
Sara’s heart beats strong in family and friends who knew her. Her legacy of volunteering and making a positive difference in this world lives on through her husband and family.