Aguanga resident and award-winning artist Sacha Hope was recently diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer. She had two surgeries and is currently undergoing some aggressive chemotherapy treatment.
According to the American Cancer Society, “triple-negative breast cancer accounts for about 10 to 15% of all breast cancers. The term triple-negative breast cancer refers to the fact that the cancer cells don’t have estrogen or progesterone receptors and also don’t make too much of the protein called HER2. (The cells test ‘negative’ on all 3 tests.) These cancers tend to be more common in women younger than age 40, who are African-American or who have a BRCA1 mutation.
“Triple-negative breast cancer differs from other types of invasive breast cancer in that they grow and spread faster, have limited treatment options and a worse prognosis (outcome).”
Hope, an amazing artist, currently has some of her work featured at Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery. When Middle Ridge owners and staff learned about Hope’s diagnoses, they wanted to help however they could.
Middle Ridge Art Gallery Manager Tamara Johnston and owners Chris and Melody Johnston brainstormed and decided to create a fundraiser to help their fellow artist.
“On her behalf, we will be donating all proceeds [not taking a commission] from the sale of her artwork we have featured in the gallery,” Tamara said. “We’ve also set up a page where folks can donate to help cover costs for her surgeries and treatments.”
With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is especially timely considering the circumstances.
“Sacha is such an amazing spirit, a great mom, an uplifting mentor for students and a cheerleader for women and other artists,” Tamara explained. “When you know someone personally and how giving their heart is who is impacted by something so incredibly hard, you want to support them in any way you can.”
Hope didn’t have the energy to speak with me over the phone but she was able to answer some questions via email. Her appreciation and optimistic spirit have paved the way as she continues her journey to recovery.
“During this frightening journey, I have been blown away by the kindness, generous spirit and supportive nature of the local community,” Hope wrote. “Everyone has offered such unwavering support. Middle Ridge Winery has taken that a step further with this fundraiser. I am overwhelmed.”
During these crazy COVID-19 times, it’s the little things that have helped Hope through some of her treatments.
Every Friday, Hope goes in for her chemotherapy treatments. To bring a smile to Hope during this weekly event, friends and her community started something called “Socks for Sacha.” They wear wild and crazy socks, wigs, hats and other outfits, take photos and then post them on social media to uplift Hope’s spirits.
“I have always been known for being wild with color, both in my artwork and in real life,” Hope wrote. “My diagnosis came during COVID-19. So from the very beginning, all of my doctor’s visits and specialists, oncologists and chemo staff have been covered in masks. Eye contact has become unbelievably important, but it is still very frightening. Crazy socks help take your mind off things.”
Even while up against the fight of her life, Hope has kept a sense of humor and a positive outlook. She’s continues to create her art, staying connected even while in isolation and staying in the moment more than ever before.
“As in life, surround yourself with things that bring you joy,” Hope explained. “A positive attitude changes everything. It’s all your view, so make it a pretty one. Laughter can lighten most loads and a good strong cup of tea can help solve almost anything.”
When asked if there was anything else she would like to share with our readers, Hope wrote, “Do a self breast check on the first of every month. Early detection saved my life. Check the tatas. Paint on, my lovelies!”
Hope will continue chemotherapy treatments through 2020 and will finish up with radiation treatment sometime in 2021.
If you are interested in donating to Hope’s fight or would like to purchase her colorful and amazing artwork, visit Middle Ridge Winery Tasting Gallery at https://www.middleridge.com/Store/Cancer-SUCKS. You can also visit Hope’s website at http://sachahope.com.