South Shore community comes together for 23-year-old fighting cancer |

South Shore community comes together for 23-year-old fighting cancer

Claire Cudahy
Natasha Sagucka, pictured here with her boyfriend, was recently diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The South Shore community has pulled together to raise funds to help with her medical bills.
Courtesy Photo |

It started with a bump in her armpit. A flurry of doctor’s appointments later, and life for Natasha Sagucka was taking an unexpected turn.

The 23-year-old Lake Tahoe resident, who grew up shredding at Sierra-at-Tahoe, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia just a few weeks ago, and is currently undergoing treatment at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

“It’s in her bone marrow and spinal cord,” said Margaret Sagucka, Natasha’s mother. “They started chemo Tuesday night.”

While Natasha focuses on finishing up her first 30 days of treatment before a trip home, friends and family back in South Lake Tahoe are coming together to help ease the financial burden of her medical bills.

Base Camp Pizza Co., where Natasha’s boyfriend works, held a benefit concert on Sunday, Nov. 20, with performances from restaurant co-owner Ted Kennedy, Helena Kletch and Roland Haas. Kennedy matched every dollar donated to Natasha, and $5,800 was raised that night.

“It’s amazing. I can’t believe how this town has really come together. They love her and support her so much. I’m speechless, honestly,” said Margaret.

Another benefit concert for Natasha is slated for Sunday, Nov. 27, at Base Camp from 5-10 p.m. Connor Party Band will be playing, and all tips will go to Natasha.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, a Lake Tahoe Paint & Sip Studio event will also be held to raise funds for Natasha’s cancer treatment.

For each $40 seat purchased, $20 will go to Natasha. The instructional painting experience will help participants craft a piece featuring two snowboarders flying down a hill. There are 30 spots available in the event, which takes place from 6-8 p.m., and reservations can be made online at

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Natasha, and in just eight days, 117 people have donated close to $10,000. The campaign’s goal is $50,000.

Though Margaret describes Natasha’s cancer as “aggressive,” she said her daughter has a positive attitude and an incredible support system.

“She’s going to lose her hair any day now, but she’s ready for it. She said she’s going to start fresh, start new,” expressed Margaret.

“She said it’s already changing her life. She’s thinking about things she’s never thought about before — deeper thoughts.”

It’s a long road ahead, said Margaret, but one they are ready for — in no small part because of the outpouring of support they have experienced from the South Shore community.

“My heart is full,” said Margaret.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User