The City Magazine Since 1975

Creating a Cure

Creating a Cure
January 2019

A local nonprofit races against time—and cancer

Sara’s Cure raises funds in part by selling note cards ($15 for a set of eight) printed with watercolor paintings by Sara Woods. Find them at

College of Charleston sophomore Sara Woods is a computer science major with a focus in computing in the arts, a program teaching students to translate their creativity into software. She loves to play golf, and she’s been making art “since she could hold a crayon,” says her mom, Lennie Woods. But Sara also lives with the knowledge that a form of cancer called clear-cell sarcoma lies in wait.

Sara was first diagnosed with the disease in 2016, just before her senior year at James Island Charter. Affecting the GI tract, the cancer is so rare that little funding exists for research into treatments or a cure. It doesn’t respond to chemotherapy or radiation, leaving surgery as a patient’s only hope. Clear-cell sarcoma is infamous for returning: less than two years after Sara’s initial surgery, she had to have a second tumor removed.

The odds are grim; however, Lennie and her husband, Denny, believe they don’t have to be. They formed a nonprofit, Sara’s Cure, that’s raising money to support research taking place at Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute in Oregon. “All it takes is funding and we can get this done,” emphasizes Lennie, who’s connected with other US families fighting the disease.

By late 2018, they’d garnered more than $50,000 toward a $1 million goal thanks to donations, fundraising events, and sales of note cards made from Sara’s paintings. “The community has been the wind at our backs, giving us the momentum to move forward with our mission,” says Lennie.


Photograph (Sara Woods) Sara’s Cure