Sara, Our Inspiration
Those who new Sara LaBoskey knew a woman of many accomplishments, positive spirit, generosity and love of life that even a cancer diagnosis could not diminish. Those who never met Sara often ask her mother Vicki LaBoskey to tell them about her. Having difficulty responding to this request in any straightforward manner, she wrote the poem below.
Had she lived, Sara would have continued to spread her sunshine, joy, and hope through educational, medical, or environmental work intended to benefit children. She would also have directly addressed the problem of overlooked and underfunded cancers like her own. We, her loving friends and family, have chosen to do that work for her through the Sunbeam Foundation. She is our reason and our inspiration.
People who did not know Sara will sometimes ask me to tell them about her:
What can I say about my child?
SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL:
Big blue eyes/blonde hair
Healthy, strong body
A smile that could, and often did, light up a room
SHE WAS ATHLETIC:
Quick, fast, strong, coordinated
Division I soccer player
Led her high school Cross Country team to the championships
SHE WAS A CAPABLE GAME-PLAYER AND PUZZLER:
She was appropriately competitive.
She was shrewd.
She was logical.
SHE WAS A DANCER:
Years of lessons of all kinds
Member of a hip hop performance team
Danced at every opportunity and taught others to do so
SHE WAS MUSICAL:
Played the piano
Knew the words to every song
Performed in Castilleja and Duke musicals
SHE WAS ARTISTIC:
She could draw and paint and do pottery and photography.
She made a quilt and sewed tops without the use of patterns for herself and friends.
She was a collector of dolls.
She was co-editor of the Castilleja yearbook that won a national award for its creative theme.
SHE COULD WRITE:
As a sophomore in college, she was accused of plagiarism because her writing was “too good.”
She wrote an essay on hip hop dance that won a first place award from the African-American Studies department at Duke and was later published in the Dance Research Journal.
SHE WAS INTELLIGENT AND A CAPABLE STUDENT:
She won the Scholar-Athlete Award at Castilleja.
She was fluent in Spanish and named outstanding Spanish student.
She was strongest in math and science classes.
She was on the Dean’s list several times at Duke.
She was an organized student with great study skills; many wanted to copy her notes, pick her brain.
AND ABOVE ALL AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, HER CHARACTER WAS EXEMPLARY:
She had impeccable integrity.
She was honest and trustworthy.
She was loyal to friends and family.
She was deeply committed to equity and fairness, never wanting or seeking special treatment.
She was slow to anger, preferring diplomacy to antagonism.
She was thoughtful--remembering always birthdays and thank you notes; giving little cheer-up gifts and doing errands or sharing burdens.
She was sensitive to others and their feelings; she tried always to give people the benefit of the doubt; she was a good listener.
She fought for the “underdog” and would not abide derisive humor.
She was humble about herself and her accomplishments.
She was willing to take advice and tried hard to please, without being overly compliant or meek; she had her own ideas and would assert those in appropriate and productive ways.
She was insightful and extremely wise beyond her years.
She was sensible and did not take undo risks or make foolish choices, yet was still willing to try new things, to have adventures.
She was courageous.
She was generous of her time, of her gifts, of her resources.
She was deeply caring of her friends and family, of children, of the aged, of animals, especially monkeys, of the environment, of mankind.
She was passionate and compassionate.
She had the ability to make everyone feel special and loved.
She was conscientious and hard working--an organizer and an enabler.
She was joyful; she loved life, loved to have fun, loved to laugh and make others laugh; she was optimistic.
She was unselfish and undemanding; she asked nothing more of life than the chance to live it--to give and receive love.
She died on July 28, 2002 of a rare form of bone cancer. She was 21.