Five-year-old Hope Sagan of Caldwell, Idaho is now active and gregarious—and one year cancer-free.
She loves playing basketball with her dad, dancing, running, coloring, drawing, and watching “Wreck-it Ralph.” Her favorite colors are pink, purple, and blue. Her favorite school subject is math—she likes adding and subtracting things, says her mom Kirsten Sagan.
But Hope wasn’t always lively and outgoing, says her mother. Before she was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of one, Hope was quiet and reserved. She also was sick for three months with flu and cold-like symptoms. Kirsten lost her job because she took frequent time off to care for her daughter. After numerous trips to the doctor, Hope was finally diagnosed during a trip to the emergency room.
“I felt like I went into fight or flight mode,” Kirsten says of facing the disease.
From September 2009 through May 2012, Hope received chemotherapy treatment at St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI) and St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise.
“There were definitely hard times…times she would cry and couldn’t stop,” Kirsten says. “But there was always hope.”
Kirsten says Hope’s diagnosis made the family’s prior financial challenges seem small.
“You look at situations that seem so hopeless, and you realize how small your problems are and how great you have it,” she says.
In spite of the challenges she’s faced, Hope often displays gratefulness and thoughtfulness. “I gave her a puzzle and she thanked me for four days,” Kirsten says.
The family also is thankful for the excellent care and support they received from the staff at St. Luke’s.
Kirsten says the name Hope suits her daughter. She expects Hope will grow up to be a life coach or something that inspires people.
“Hope loves life,” Kirsten says. “She just has such a different outlook on life—straightforward and honest. She brings hope into everything.”
As participants and sponsors of the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial Golf Tournament, you touch lives like Hope’s every day. Your support for vital medical research has greatly increased cure and survival rates, as well as quality of life for children and adults with cancer. You make an incredible impact on research scientists, clinicians, and the patients they serve at St. Luke’s MSTI, the University of Minnesota Cancer Research Center, and around the globe.
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