Sara Bultsma and Dr. Yoav Messinger

#AmazingIs Stories, Mighty Blog

Pediatric cancer survivor celebrates her health at Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic 5K

In 2003, Sara Bultsma was diagnosed with leukemia early on the day of her 7th birthday. While most 7-year-olds celebrate their birthdays with cake and balloons, Sara was rushed into surgery at Children’s Minnesota to remove a mass on her chest. The immediacy of it all was confusing and terrifying for Sara and her family.

“It was difficult to wrap my head around everything that was going on at the time,” said Sara, now a sophomore at the University of Iowa. “During the diagnosis, the surgery and the weeks following, everything felt like a blur.”

Sara Bultsma and Dr. Yoav Messinger
Sara Bultsma (left) as a 12-year-old at the Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic 5K in 2008 (Photos courtesy of the Bultsma family)

Sara Bultsma and Dr. Yoav Messinger
Sara is so inspired by the care she received that she has now run the Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic 5K with Dr. Yoav Messinger (left) five times.

For the two years after her diagnosis, Sara was in and out of Children’s Minnesota for chemo, a second surgery and other needed treatments.

“Being diagnosed with cancer as a young kid, there were so many scary unknowns,” she said. “I’m thankful for the medical treatment and support I got from my family, Children’s and beyond. That’s why it’s so important to me to participate in the Pine Tree (Apple Tennis Classic) fundraiser.”

Sara is so inspired by the care she received that she has now run the Pine Tree Apple Tennis Classic 5K with Dr. Yoav Messinger five times.

“He always seems to beat me!” Sarah said, laughing. But it isn’t about winning or losing for her. “I’m so happy to be able to support the cancer program and other families going through the same thing I went through. Every child with cancer deserves the treatment and support that I had, and Children’s is the best place to be.”

Sara Bultsma and Dr. Yoav Messinger
Sara and Dr. Messinger
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