Held September 9th, 2017, at the John Rose MN oval, the Skate for Sarah – “Keep the rubber on the road” basic inline (rollerblade) skate lesson for new and struggling skaters in exchange for donations to Operation Smile event was powerful. Sarah’s sisters were very appreciative and felt the event was “so very special”. In addition to providing inline skate lessons, and a Sarah Sticker, a representative from Operation Smile was present handing out Operation Smile buttons with images of children who had reparative cleft lip and palate surgeries through Operation Smile, an organization Sarah served with nearly thirty missions as a nurse practitioner .
On August 10, 2017, immediately after Robichon’s facebook page publication of Skate for Sarah, Sarah shared Robichon’s Inline and Quad Skate School’s post promoting “Skate for Sarah – keep the rubber on the road” benefit . Sarah’s share of the benefit would be her final facebook post, resulted in over 400 shares of Robichon’s Skate for Sarah page and served as her means to publicly announce her pending death.
What followed was an outpouring of love, support and honoring of Sarah on her personal facebook page during and after her death the evening of August 24, 2017. The following is a sampling of Skater’s support of Sarah:
1) Sarah’s Former Media Machine Team Manager, David Thompson
2) Deb Ingersoll, spouse of Physician and Inline Skater, Al Ingersoll
3) Noelle Robichon, Speed Instructor to Sarah Gutknecht:
August 10, 2017 Sarah wrote to Noelle, ” I really appreciate your support and coordination, can’t thank you enough. Much Love, Sarah”.
Fourteen days later, on August 24th, 2017, after a long fight with the illness, all the while supporting her ailing father, Sarah succumbed to pancreatic cancer.
The day after her passing her young sister posted the following to Sarah’s caringbridge site:
Leaping into the Next Adventure
Journal entry by Amy Nelson —
Now it is our turn to be open to new and exciting adventures as we say goodbye to our life on earth with Sarah. Sarah passed away peacefully at home last evening, with Ann, and her sisters, Julie and Amy by her side.
Sarah has forever changed each and every one of us, making us the best version of ourselves. Whether she has encouraged and supported us, been a rock for us, made us feel amazing, cared for us, or inspired us.
“Your smile and eyes, the windows into a soul with infinite power to heal and love.” such a perfect description of Sarah by Noelle Robichon.
Sarah will always be with us. She will live on through us. Sarah will be waiting for us, for an interval, just around the corner.
Here is to a new beginning.
Sarah would encourage us to move forward, press on, living with her spirit guiding us. Whether it be feeling free to dance like no one is watching, loving with your whole heart, sharing your gifts selflessly, or living like there is no tomorrow.
Sarah’s passing from pancreatic cancer the evening of August 24th, 2017 made the event particularly poignant. September 6th 2017, a few evenings prior to “Skate for Sarah” benefit, Sarah’s younger sister, Amy Nelson contacted Robichon’s Skate School through its facebook page with the following message:
“Noelle, My sisters, Anne Schreck and Julie Savelkoul, Sarah’s spouse, Ann Kools and I plan to attend the “Skate for Sarah” event on Saturday. Thank you for having this great event!”
Excited to hear Sarah’s sisters would attend Skate for Sarah, Noelle invited the speed skating community on Sarah’s facebook page and to the local speed skating community via e-mail.
With short notice, the following speed skaters arrived in support of Sarah: Melissa Dahlmann, Jeff Steltz, Connie Ecklund and Ovid Westin. Numerous others arrived to take lessons including Sarah Gutknecht’s work colleagues Minh Nguyen and Sue Richmond Johnson both former colleagues from Shriners Hospital.
Robichon’s take pride and comfort knowing they supported Sarah’s family enough for them to drive hours away from home: Rochester, MN and Cedar Rapids, IA to demonstrate their appreciation of Skate for Sarah.
In honor of Sarah, Robichon’s will continue teaching random Free Skate Lessons. You are welcome to sign up for your Free Skate Lesson here: