Freshman Sarah Griege finds her voice from supporting cancer patients


Courtesy of Sarah Griege

With her hands in the air, freshman Sarah Griege stands with her family and local supporters at a Pedal the Cause event in August. Her family’s organization, Powered by Hope, received a $50,000 check to support kids that are suffering from cancer. “It is such a huge milestone, and we are all so happy to receive such a great donation,” Sarah said. “This will help many kids that are suffering from cancer and give them a huge amount of support.”

After freshman Sarah Griege’s aunt, Teri Griege, was diagnosed with colon cancer, she started the cancer awareness organization Powered by Hope. Wanting to support her aunt and provide optimism to those with cancer, Sarah took a leading role in the organization.

The funds collected by the organization go toward researching the causes of cancer and assisting patients in their fight against it. 

“I am more than happy to be a part of this organization and [to be] able to help people that are suffering. Watching people light up when I come to emotionally support them means a lot to me,” Sarah said. “I want to support people and let them know that they can come back from a tragic illness [like] cancer. The best thing to have is a sense of hope and confidence.” 

Alongside volunteering, Sarah helps organize the events and runs the social media accounts to help expand the organization.

“I work on the Facebook page, which is designed to spread our company. I currently have 3,000 followers, but my goal is to reach 1 million. I want our organization to spread all over the world and to raise more money to go toward cancer research,” Sarah said. “It is really cool to see how far we have come already, and I can’t wait to see how it will turn out in the future.”

Sarah’s work at Powered by Hope is inspired by her aunt who continues to defy her colon cancer diagnosis.

“It was really hard and emotional because [my aunt] never knew which day could be her last. She was only expected to survive for five years, and this year has been her 10th year since her cancer diagnosis,” Sarah said. “The good thing is that she has been able to keep fighting and staying alive. I feel like everyone can have that chance now. Everyone can have hope.” 

Over the years, Sarah’s aunt has become a role model for her entire family. 

“When I was younger, around age nine, my parents were always gone helping my aunt,” Sarah said. “We then unified and made a goal to try to get my aunt healthy by visiting her every day, cooking meals and emotionally supporting her. This motivated us to give the most care we could to make her happy. She is the best role model because she has never given up.” 

Teri’s survival story has drawn attention from around the world, and she was featured in a TedTalk, as well as writing her own book called “Powered By Hope: the Teri Griege Story.”

“It is such an amazing opportunity for someone like my aunt to get to talk about her story to the world. She was able to give everyone a sense of hope and confidence,” Sarah said. “There are a ton of people in this world that have a similar story about going through cancer as well as the tough journey, and their stories were all represented with Terri’s.” 

Powered by Hope works to provide medals of hope that give people a visual reminder that they are not alone. In addition to working with Powered by Hope, Sarah participates in events sponsored by Pedal the Cause and marathons to help raise money.

“My first memorable moment was when I did a 20-mile bike race for the Pedal the Cause organization. I helped set the whole thing up,” Sarah said. “One of the girls that we were raising money for was there, and she gave me the biggest hug, which made my day.”

Throughout her life, Sarah has supported people with cancer by coming into their lives and bringing hope, friendship and support. 

“Volunteering for this organization is very important to me in many ways,” Sarah said. “It is very important to me because I want to support people and help them go through their tough situations. Just being there for them and giving them my support is the right thing to do. If I was going through a similar thing, I would want someone by my side as well.”