After being diagnosed in 2009, Rachel battled breast cancer for 10 years, attending numerous surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy treatments. Some of these treatments would affect her physically and emotionally for multiple days post-treatment, only to have to turn around and go right back to preparing for her next session.
After a few years of stability, Rachel’s cancer continued to evolve, which forced frequent changes in medications and treatments as her needs changed. Her chemotherapy sessions varied in length, lasting anywhere from one to six long hours. Having so much experience and being such a meticulous person, she began to pack a bag for both herself and anyone accompanying her to make everyone more comfortable and help the time go by faster. She had been to so many sessions that she knew exactly what to bring for each appointment. Everyone was amazed by her preparation, packing items such as blankets, eye masks, snacks, coloring books, and even travel Battleship!
On April 8, 2019, Rachel, her family, and her doctors made the decision to discontinue treatment. Two months prior, at one of her last chemotherapy sessions, she asked one of the nurses at Cancer Care Associates of York if she could create a brochure for new patients to help them pack for their first treatment. Unfortunately, Rachel never got the opportunity to carry out this venture, so we created Sailor Sacks to ensure that her gift would be shared with others. Rachel never wanted anyone to feel bad for her, rather she just wanted to enjoy every moment of her life despite her battle. We hear about chemotherapy all the time, but most people don’t know just how harsh the treatments can be. Named after Rachel’s beloved fur child, Sailor Sacks is her legacy.
We will carry on Rachel’s spirit through Sailor Sacks, providing hand-packed bags for chemotherapy patients.