Growing up as a conservative pastor’s kid in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Sarah shattered the glass ceiling of her family’s expectation and traditional upbringing to become the first woman in her family to graduate from college. She earned a masters degree in Medical Science from Yale School of Medicine, and then studied Journalism at Columbia University’s School of Journalism.
Her forward trajectory came to a grinding halt when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 27. After she lost everything, she moved from the east coast to Portland, Oregon, with just a suitcase of clothes, and started over. She had a chance encounter with a Somali refugee family on the train in Portland and developed a relationship with them. While she taught the single Somali mom and her five daughters how to live in America, they taught her how to love and be loved again. Currently, Sarah is based in San Francisco, California.
The details of Sarah’s and the Somali girls’ story of survival, recovery and redemption are recorded in her memoir, The Invisible Girls (Jericho Books, 2013). The proceeds from the book are going towards a college fund for the five Somali girls featured in the book.
As a speaker, Sarah is a regular at retreats, churches, colleges and conferences. She was recently featured at Donald Miller’s Storyline Conference and named one of 40 Women Under 40 who are challenging taboos of the Christian Faith by the I Speak For Myself initiative.
The Invisible Girls was chosen as the First Year Experience book for incoming freshman at Mississippi State University, where Sarah delivered the convocation in August 2014. Sarah has also written for several magazines and newspapers such as USA Today, National Geographic, Huffington Post, Relevant Magazine, Burnsidewriters.com and Christianity Today.
She is a spokesperson for Vanity Fair’s Women Who Do campaign, which features women who are making a positive difference in their communities and Compassion International.