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She is her person. You know that one soul who understands you without any explanation? The person who can calm your spinning mind when no one else even knows you’re concerned. The one whose strength makes you feel strong. For Sara, that is her twin sister Ali.
“For as long as I can remember, I rarely had to stand up for myself…because she was so quick to have my back. Even though we are twins, my whole life she has been my protector.”
“I run for her.”
A volleyball player in college, Ali was an active and athletic 24-year-old. No one would have thought her headaches were anything more than a result of school stress or changes in the weather.
“She was invincible. Healthy. Fearless. Strong. She couldn’t possibly be sick.”
But she was. No one could have imagined Ali’s headaches were the pounding of a rare and aggressive brain cancer.
Every person’s ‘cancer story’ is different.
The age and stage in life. The support system and the fleeting friends. The length and type of treatment. The relationship with doctors and the understanding of nurses. It changes for every single person.
The one piece that never seems to change is the empowerment that is felt when you realize that you aren’t in this alone; that someone else feels the very same way.
“When one of my aunt’s found Stupid Cancer, in early 2016, everything changed for Ali.”
“For the first time since her diagnosis, she felt normal, accepted, and connected to young adults fighting similar battles.”
Shortly after this, the twins learned about Team Stupid Cancer.
“Ali saw a post in May 2016 about the Ragnar Relay from San Francisco to Napa Valley. We inquired with Sean Shapiro (Director of Development at Stupid Cancer) and just like that, we were in!”
Now, just a few months later, they stand at the starting line of their very first Ragnar Relay.
“I don’t care if I have to crawl to finish my three legs, I will get it done.”
But they aren’t in this alone. Of their 12-person team, 10 of the members are friends and family; including Team Captain Kacey. Their cousin Kacey hasn’t missed one of Ali’s doctor’s appointments since her initial diagnosis.
“This process has taught me that people are good.”
Immediately after Sara’s story was published, we received an incredible amount of feedback. Most of you saying how inspired you were by Sara and Ali’s bond, many of you cheering the sisters on, and a lot of you reiterating that supporting Team Stupid Cancer and the people that it helps is ‘why you run’.As a fresh round of Ragnar Relay spots open up for the new year, we reached back out to Sara so that we could hear about her Ragnar experience (including how her legs felt after pounding all those miles).
“The Ragnar was extremely mentally and physically challenging. Not only do you have to be somewhat in running shape but you also have to be prepared to basically be covered in sweat and not sleep for the better part of 48 hours. Logistically, you have to constantly know the next stop you’re headed to, and try to have 12 people all on the same time frame! With that being said, it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life. I loved every minute of it and I would absolutely do it again.
I loved the eclectic group of people on our team and the chance to learn about one another . When you’re in such a confined space with people you wouldn’t have met otherwise, you get to know each other very quickly. The team aspect of the event was by far my favorite part. Cheering each other on and seeing everyone succeed was life altering.
Plus, days before the Ragnar we found out my sister is NED (No evidence of disease!!!!!). It’s basically remission for brain cancer! When Ali finished her 3 legs, I cried. I was so unbelievably proud of her for competing and finishing such a daunting task. She is so mentally tough, she hardly trained for the Ragnar but her will pushed her through the finish line. It is a top five moment in my short life, so far. I am so grateful I was able to run and raise funds for others in the young adult cancer community. It was worth sleeping 3 hours in 48 and being so sore I couldn’t walk for two days. I can’t wait for the next one!”