Mile #181 Sara
Sara Willis had germinoma, the “good kind” of childhood brain cancer. The kind with a 90% survival rate. She was originally diagnosed at 14, and went into remission after 3 rounds of chemo and 25 sessions of radiation. On her 18th birthday she relapsed with another germinoma on her optic nerve. After an orbitotomy to biopsy the tumor, Sara had 3 rounds of chemotherapy to fight this beast again. Unfortunately the third round of chemo - high dose with stem cell transplant- ended up taking her life. Sara’s stem cells engrafted in her lungs and she had severe ARDS. She was placed on a ventilator and then later on ECMO. Even during all of this, Sara had moments of lucidity where she graced us with her beautiful smile that lit up the room. Unfortunately her lungs didn’t heal in time, and her heart failed after 7 weeks of ECMO. She left us on Thanksgiving Day.
Sara was sunshine. She loved sweet tea, turtles, the beach, and her family. Music, dancing, and playing games. She was always down for an adventure and spent way too much of her life miserable and in pain. Sara’s cancer did not kill her, sara had a tumor on her optic nerve that was less than 6 mm. Sara died as a result of harsh chemotherapy. Thank you Tattoo Tom for fighting for these kids. They need different options!!