For Sara, My Friend

by Nate St. Pierre on October 16, 2012

I knew Sara Santiago for a long time before I knew she was sick. In fact, she never even told me that she was. All she did was support me in my fledgling philanthropy projects, make me laugh when I was in a bad mood, lift up my heart when I was feeling defeated, and constantly give of her time, money, and energy to help those who couldn’t help themselves in the Milwaukee community.

Oh, and on the side she’s the founder and president of a local company, speaks to groups nationwide, is the youngest member ever to be elected to the Advisory Board of the Medical College of Wisconsin, and is a mother to two young girls. Yeah, she’s amazing.

I’m not even going to list out everything that she has done for others – it would be far too long and boring to read, and your eyes would glaze over and you would entirely miss the point, which is simply this: Sara has an incredible heart for others, and gives of her whole self, even in her pain, with no thought of reward. She is a beautiful person, inside and out . . . someone I greatly respect and admire.

Today she needs our help, and we’re going to give it to her, whether she likes it or not.

Sara has had a few different neurological conditions for a while, which she’s always managed to deal with on her own, or with limited help from family and friends. Lately, however, things have been getting worse, and due to increasing epileptic episodes and continued weakness, incapacitating pain, and mobility challenges, Sara was advised to get a service dog to help keep her safe in the near future.

Service dogs are highly trained and expensive, and are usually paid for by fundraising efforts from the recipient family. Sara has been approved to receive a dog, and we in the Milwaukee community want to fundraise the $12,000 necessary to bring a service dog home to her. The fact that Sara’s account already has close to $9,000 in it after the first day is a testament to the woman that she is, and the love that her friends have for her, both here in Milwaukee, and also throughout the rest of the country.

Would you please join me today in getting her the rest of the $3,000 she needs to stay safe and healthy? Let’s finish this thing off for her right now, so she doesn’t have to worry about anything. She deserves it.

You can donate directly to Sara’s Sidekick fund here on indiegogo, and also read more details about her situation and why we’re doing this.

Thank you!

—– UPDATE —–
In the 3 hours that this post has been up, $7,000 has come in (I’m sure a lot of it from Sara’s company, who donated during this time). Wow. Sometimes the internet is so very awesome. Many thanks and much love to everyone on the ItStartsWith.Us, Love Bomb, Love Drop, and NateStPierre teams who helped as well – I saw so many of you pitching in! Remember that you can still donate as well, and any extra money will go towards the training of more dogs for other people.

  • Sara, you incredible, brave, amazing woman, you. I feel honored just to read this piece from Nate.

    Thank you for everything that you do. Keeping Nate in line is no easy task (ha!) but you clearly nailed it. I’m thinking of you today, and everyday. It’s time for you to let love come to you, and bask in knowing that we all love you. SO MUCH. xo!

  • Julie

    Sara, sounds like you’re a pretty fantastic person. Keep rockin’ on for your family and friends. Sounds like they love you bunches.

  • Lee

    Hey Sara, be strong 😀 You’re an inspiration to me

  • Gustavo

    Sara, I just read your story and i will tell you what: you just earned one more admirer! You look like a strong and awesome person! Be patient and positive like you have always been and things will work out! I wish you all the best!

  • Chris

    Sara – stay strong!

  • Rain

    Sara, you are an amazing woman and your strength as you journey through life inspires me. I hope that there will be some positive changes soon and that your new companion will help your life be a little easier and safer. Know that there are tons of us sending you a big dose of love to go with it!

  • Jonathan Ruth

    Hey Sara!

    I’ve been keeping up with your story since Nate sent his post. What an amazing woman you are!! So courageous and such an inspiration to the many (MANY!) folks that you have obviously touched! I am SO glad the money was raised for the wonderful safety dog, and I think it’s a testament to you to see how much additional money was raised!! Great stuff! Hang in there! We love you and will be thinking of you! God bless you!!

    – Jonathan

  • Julie

    Sara – Praying for peace, strength, hope and healing for you!

  • Crystal

    Amazing! Sara, you inspire me to be kinder and sacrific more to help others. I am so happy that within hours people came together to help you with this. I hope that you can reach out and let your community serve you more in your time of need. Lean on them and let us all fill your cup, like you have filled so many others. You have taught us how to love and lift others. Thank you and I hope you will find the answers and treatments that will improve your health so that you can go forward!

  • Rich

    Thank you for your wondferful gifts and all the work you do. Let your love continue to overflow and touch those around you.

  • erin

    Sara, While I don’t know you personally, I just want you to know that you have people out there supporting you and sending you postiive, healing thoughts. This is a long journey, but from what I’ve read about you, you are an incredible person and have so many people to support you. Best, ERin

  • Sandra

    Sara, in spite of the challenges you’ve faced, it appears that life has blessed you with the heart, mind and strength to not only see you through – but to inspire and lift everyone who comes in contact with you. May blessings continue to pour in for you… and those you love,

  • bootsystar

    Sara- im sending you much love and healing energy today. your work is inspiring; y.o.u are inspiring! good luck with the new service dog. you will get help, and more love! hang in there! I’m holding you in my thoughts and in my heart! xx jenn

  • Me

    If I could just be half the person you are I would be content! Prayers for you and your family!

  • rosie grabowski

    Sara you are an inspirational woman, you shouldnt take on so much by yourself when theres so many hete to help xxx keep strong!

  • Sara, Thank you for all the love you have to give, and for having a big enough heart to accept all the love too. Love, Emma

  • Mely

    Sara, Thank you for reminding me how important it is to make time to help others in need. Sometimes it’s hard to remember when I’m juggling all the responsibilities in my life. If you can do it, I can do it. You sound like such an amazing and brave woman. THANK YOU for inspiring me today to be a better me. Sending healing and happy thoughts your way XOXO

  • Stacy

    Stay strong and enjoy your new pup!

  • Sara, I pray your new dog brings you the assistance you need as well as comfort, reassurance, and peace. Blessings on you in this difficulty time!

  • Megan B.

    *HUGS* and love for Sara.

  • I wish Sara well and hope that the new guard dog will help her continue to living the beautiful life she has and also bring her more comfort and peace of mind. What stands out the most is the great example that she is for her daughters, who will grow up to be compassionate, positive and supportive adults, bringing more sunshine into the world. Cheers to Sara!

  • Sarah

    Sara, the way you choose to live your life is so inspirational. I wish you only the best with your new god and hope this stage in your life because a happy stepping stone into become stronger and more wonderful. Thank you for this beautiful story and know that you are furiously loved.

  • princesslila

    The world is a better place because of strong, giving people like you. Sending you healing thoughts and prayers. <3

  • Cathy Sanchez

    Sara you are such an inspiration to myself and so many others. I also have a disability and my mom has always drilled it in my head: PMA = positive mental attitude. You rock & roll with PMA every day! You will be in my prayers and keep up the fantastic attitude. You are a great example on how people should be living their life.

  • Sara,

    Thank you for being such a great person and wonderful example to not only our Milwaukee community but to humankind everywhere! Stay strong, keep your spirits high, lean on your friends, don’t be shy about asking for assistance and never change. I bet your new dog rocks! Best wishes to you!

  • It really shows what a kind, loving person you must be for all of these wonderful people to surround you 🙂 Feel that love, from them and from those of us you’ve never met and probably never will. We are sending it to you, and will be….. love and peace to you and yours from ~a love bomber

  • The Schmidt Family

    Sending lots of love to you, Sara!

  • Allie

    Know that you are loved from far and wide, inside & out… Peace to you.

  • Jenn

    Sending you lots of love and praying for your continued strength!

  • Rachel

    Praying for healing, strength, and patience for you and your family. Thank you for being an example of the selfless person I would like to become. Lots of love and prayers headed your way!

  • I know its hard now but this will pass, just keep your innate positivity. May peace and love come to surround you and keep you safe and strong

  • Lisa Holmes

    What an inspiring woman. Peace to you and yours.

  • Ashley

    Asking that you be surrounded by angels and held in peace, love and healing. Know that you are never alone and that you are loved by the entire Universe.

  • lori

    Sara, add me to your growing list of admirers! You really are an inspiration to the rest of us! Sending good thoughts and positive vibes.

  • Jess


    You clearly have inspired so many people, and it comes as no surprise. You are an amazing strong woman that is going to survive this. Keep fighting.


  • PK

    Sara, Keep fighting. We are pulling for you. Prayers have been said for you and your family and you deal with whatever life throws at you.

  • Christina

    Much love to you Sara!

  • Angie

    Sarah wishing you and your family all the best! Praying for your health and thank you for being such a beautiful person who loves and helps so many! xx

  • Helenamcs

    Hello sarah, i hope you get better. But if you don’t i hope you embrasse the chance naturally and peacefully, with no blame game and no hurrys. Life allways gets a way, and the universe is wise. You can allways count on me, here from the other side of the ocean! 🙂 Hugs and LOVE for portugal * Helena*

  • Stacy

    Rock on Sara! Needing help isn’t a sign of weakness…it’s a sign that you’ve been on your own too long, and you need others to lift you up. Praying for help & healing for you!

  • Michele

    Sara sounds like a truly amazing woman.

  • Lola

    You are amazing, Sara. You’ll get through this. 🙂

  • Meghan

    Thinking of you!

  • rosie grabowski

    Stay strong sara xx

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