ALPHARETTA, Ga. — One local woman has beaten all the odds and is now helping people live their lives to the fullest by raising funds for Parkinson’s disease research.
Alpharetta resident Sarah Steward was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma at a young age.
The childhood cancer forms a tumor that develops in the nervous system and can affect bodily function, such as heart rate, blood pressure and digestion.
At stage four, the tumor spreads to the lymph nodes, bone marrow, bone, liver or other organs.
Steward, however, fully recovered from the cancer and is now paying it forward.
She recently returned from the journey of a lifetime after scaling the soaring peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro. Standing at 19,341 feet, it is Africa’s tallest mountain.
The trip, however, wasn’t just for fun or glory. It was part of a fundraising effort by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease research.
“To be honest mountaineering isn’t a hobby of mine - I am more interested in yoga, pilates and cycling, but I took on this initiative in honor of my dad who is fighting Parkinson’s disease,” Steward said. “[He’s] suffered from it since I was a child.”
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological disorder that can progress from mild tremors to complete physical incapacitation. Currently, there is no known cure. Doctors can only treat symptoms as the disease progresses.
Steward and her father have not given up, however.
“My dad is the strongest person I know,” she said. “I admire his positive attitude and his zeal for life. He inspired me.”
Steward’s efforts have netted over $12,000, all of which will go directly into research.