Of her time on the runway last year, Sarah remains immensely grateful. Now a single mother, she looks back on her cancer journey with some sadness. Though she had amazing family and friends, her home life during treatment led to her to minimize most of what she was going through. For her, backstage with the models followed by hitting the runway allowed to her to feel seen: “It allowed me to say loudly and proudly- I am a survivor and I fought breast cancer. That shared experience was both spiritual and therapeutic.“
Since the show, she has remained committed to being the best parent possible, even while doing it alone. Additionally, she has begun the journey of re-entering the workforce, after taking 8 years to raise her children. A mental health therapist, the challenges of COVID for children mean her skills are uniquely needed in schools, but cancer finds a way to creep into her mind, even throughout the interview process: “I often think, if I got diagnosed again, what would I do? I worry employers consider my previous diagnosis as a risk for hire.” It’s proof that even as a survivor, cancer still plays a role in her day to day. For her part, Sarah remains committed to living in the moment: “the cancer scaries creep in once in a while. For the most part if I am feeling grounded/centered, I am able to stay in the here and now and control what I can do in the moment. If I am living in a constant state of fear and anxiety, then I am ruining my here and now and I try my very best to not let that happen.”
Sarah will hit the runway again this year- this time with her amazing two children. We honor how far she has come by re-publishing her blog from last year:
Sarah Gean glows with positivity and it’s why one would never be able to guess how fraught with difficulty her breast cancer journey has been. Her diagnosis came from her own self-awareness, after she noticed swelling and tenderness in her armpit. Her ultra sound and mammogram did not show her tumor. It would be a follow up MRI that finally revealed she had breast cancer. She got the news while in the car with her family, just before Christmas, on December 21, 2019.
She would go on to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction followed by five months of chemotherapy and radiation. While the diagnosis and subsequent treatment was grueling, it was made more complicated by COVID. Indeed, only a few months after active treatment concluded, the global shutdown began. It tested Sarah and her family even more. She notes that her support system was key. Friends created meal trains, her sisters moved in to help take care of her and her children, and teachers at her children’s school provided support in any way possible. The level of kindness she received blew her away: “it was a lot all at once. Having a support system allowed myself and my children to get through this.”
The pandemic did however, exacerbate certain issues and a few months into the global shutdown, Sarah and her husband separated. Facing an impending divorce, coupled with a breast cancer diagnosis, COVID and being a mother to young children is unfathomable to most, but Sarah’s outlook is astonishingly positive: “through this whole thing, I could only focus on what I could control. We can control how we look at things. I tried to take great care of myself so I could be there for my children.”
Sarah’s strength is admirable and she says she could not have done this journey without her incredible support system. It’s why today she feels good, like her energy is back and reflecting on her year, she has incredible insight saying, “Going through it, my ex-husband wasn’t supportive and my cancer intensified those issues. Hindsight is always 20/20 and my new life, I am good with it. It all happens for a reason. It’s been a couple of years of learning and lots of pain, but I always keep in my head that I have a choice of my thoughts everyday. I have a choice of how I want to frame things and for me, it’s putting my oxygen mask on myself to then make sure I can be there 100% for my children.”