South Shore community comes together for 23-year-old fighting cancer
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 http://www.laketahoepaintsip.com.
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.