Bring Sarah to your group, church, women’s retreat, or organization for powerful, real messages of hope, restoration, and healing.
In this 35 minute talk, Sarah tells the gripping story of how an encounter with a Somali woman and her two daughters on a train changed all of their lives.
Sarah had recently moved from the East Coast to Portland, Oregon, where she was recovering from a battle with breast cancer that nearly cost her her life. One afternoon, as she was riding the train towards downtown, she noticed a Somali woman and her two young daughters. The mom and the older girl found seats, but the train was crowded and there wasn’t a seat for the littlest girl, so she climbed into Sarah’s lap and fell asleep.
Sarah struck up a conversation with the Somali mom, who was living in Portland with her 5 girls who were all under the age of 9, with no job, no money, no language skills, and no family or friends.
This was the start of a relationship with the family. As Sarah taught them how to navigate life in America, the Somali woman and her girls helped Sarah by loving her, accepting her into their family, and demonstrating what it meant to have hope and resilience.
Sarah went on to write about their story in her memoir The Invisible Girls, and and she’s putting the proceeds from the book into a college fund she set up for the Somali girls.
As a gifted storyteller, Sarah uses humor, drama and insight to share this inspiring story with people around the world, encouraging them to see the invisible people in their own lives, and to realize that redemption can appear at the most unlikely times, in the most unusual places.
This talk is perfect for high schools, colleges, non-profit organizations, churches, and women’s groups.
When Sarah Thebarge was 27 years old, her life was going exactly as she’d planned. She had a master’s degree in Medical Science from Yale, and she was earning a Journalism degree at Columbia, on her way to her dream job as a medical reporter. She was also about to get engaged to the man of her dreams.
And then she was diagnosed with breast cancer and, as she describes it, “the wheels fell off the train.”
Her cancer recurred twice. She had five surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. As she was fighting for her life, her world was falling apart. She had to drop out of journalism school because she was too sick to commute to NYC for classes. Her good friend died of cancer. Her friends moved away, and her church forgot about her. And then the man she was going to marry broke up with her. In a Starbucks parking lot. While she was on chemo.
It was then that Sarah realized she had choices to make.
She could be angry that her life didn’t go as she’d hoped, and, because of all the disappointments, she could refuse to move on with her life. Or, she could accept the losses and decide to set out on a new adventure, even though it was very different from what she had expected.
Sarah chose the latter option. When she finished her treatments, she sold everything she had and bought a one-way ticket from the East Coast to Portland, Oregon, and she started over. It was there that she met a Somali woman and her daughters on a train. She developed a relationship with them, started a blog about them called The Invisible Girls, and then turned the story into a book, using the profits to start a college fund for the Somali girls.
In this inspiring talk, Sarah tells listeners that at some point in their life, the wheels will fall off the train of their life, and they will have a choice to make. They can stay stuck, refusing to move on because life has disappointed them. Or, they can practice acceptance and hop off the train, finding the adventure that’s waiting for them as they begin to blaze a new trail.