I am super excited about this weeks “FAMILY” post. I have to admit that this sweet girl is one of my favorites. I've known Sarah since she was in kindergarten with my daughter and they became good friends. They spent 13 years in school together and graduated last year. Sarah, like my daughter just completed her first year of college and is getting ready to return in a few short weeks. As soon as peach season is over, she's got a big vacation planned with her family before she heads out to St. Jude for a special project she's working on with them…..
As a mother of 3 strong, healthy, beautiful children, I cannot imagine being told that one of them has cancer but that's exactly the words Sarah's parents were given on that fateful October day in 2000. Their blonde headed, green eyed baby girl was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia better known as AML. This cruel cancer usually saves itself for middle aged men, so for a 3 year old baby it's considered extremely rare. She spent a week in a local hospital, but when doctors felt she needed more care than they were capable of providing, they quickly sent her to St. Jude. For 6 months, she moved back and forth between a hospital room and the Ronald McDonald House as she underwent chemotherapy. It was a tough road for Sarah's family. Thankfully, the treatments worked and Sarah returned home cancer free and she remains cancer free today!
Sarah works in our retail during peach season. She spends her days helping customers, selling peaches and making some of the best peach and butter pecan ice cream around. This is her third summer at Pearson Farm and last December she spent her Christmas holidays working with us in our mail order department. She enjoys being here because it is close to home and she really enjoys the customers. I asked Sarah what brought her to Pearson Farm to work. She thought for a minute, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I guess I just thought it was my turn.” I laughed because that was exactly what I was thinking. Sarah's dad worked at Pearson Farm during his high school summers, and her Uncle Eric works here now. He spent time during high school and college on the Farm but then left for a while. He has since come “HOME” and is now one of our Farm Managers. You would think these family ties would be enough to encourage Sarah to carry on the family tradition but it was really Sarah's grandfather's time at Pearson Farm that made her want to “take her turn.”
Mr. James became a fundamental figure at Pearson Farm during peach season and at a local pecan cleaning plant during the fall/winter months after he retired from the post office. He worked these seasons for both companies for many years. Literally up until the day he died. I knew Mr. James well and often wondered if he had planned to spend his retirement days working in peaches and pecans or if it was just one of the many projects he was asked to help with that he just couldn't say “no” to. Sarah remembers him bringing her to the Farm as a little girl and playing around in the packing shed while he worked. His summers here were spent running the Hydro cooler but he was known more for his handyman and building skills. His craftsmanship is seen all over the packing house. I can't help but find it incredibly ironic that the very counter Sarah works behind today was one of the last projects he completed.
Sarah is such a hard worker and always willing to go out of her way to help others. Her sweet spirit and caring attitude is seen by all who meet her. These attributes along with her dedication and that beautiful smile will help her be the best pediatric nurse around. Sarah dream job is return to St. Jude to work. I'm sure those nurses made quite an impression on her as she fought for her life all those years ago. She makes the trek back to Memphis every year for tests and reunions but this year the trip is going to be a little different. She will be participating in a research project that looks at the long term effects of chemo therapy. Just another opportunity for Sarah to use herself to help others. I am personally so proud of Sarah and everything she has accomplished in her life so far and can hardly wait to see her next chapter unfold for I know it will be special one. And out here at Pearson Farm...well....we just feel blessed every day that this blonde haired, green eyed baby girl walks in our door.