Blog

Don't file a missing persons report just yet.....

I know, I know....it's been a little while since I've posted in this blog. (Come on, I know you missed me!) My amazing tribe has been hard at work preparing a brand new website for you! Ya know, because it took me almost a year just to figure out how to do this myself! But it will be well worth the wait.  

And the truth is, I haven't had a ton of blogging time over the last few months. (Do I hear a new year's resolution?) I've been hard at work educating and advocating for the 120,000 men, women, and children waiting for an organ transplant. No, really....it's taken months of planning, but here's what's coming up for you! 

Fast Fact Friday- A brand new weekly web video series (hosted by....yours truly) available on social media and YouTube that will educate you on the real facts and information about organ and tissue donation!

The Transplant Connection- A brand new weekly podcast you can tune into on Sound Cloud featuring news and information regarding organ donation, as well as interviews with patients, recipients, and donor families, doctors, medical experts, and support resources.

Current Social Media Donors can enter to win fun prizes in our December Donor Challenge on social media!

Newly Registered Donors can enter to win even more fun prizes in our New Year, New Life Challenge on social media!

And so much more! So what's the best way to stay in the know during this exciting time? Follow me on Facebook by Clicking HERE! 

See you real soon! xoxo, Sarah

It Takes a Village...

This past weekend, I was blessed with the most amazing opportunity to compete in the Mrs. Pennsylvania International Pageant in Altoona, Pennsylvania. (For more info on the International Pageant system visit www.mrsinternational.com) It was truly a wonderful experience, one that I have walked away from with new friends and fond memories! While I would love to thank everyone individually, it would probably take me the rest of the year to write them all out. Instead, I hope everyone can see here just how thankful I am for the entire village that took part in this event!

My Family: To my husband George, thank you for you unending love and support! To my brother Christopher Polk and his living donor Megan Allman, thank you for inspiring me to get involved and motivating me to continue raising awareness for organ and tissue donation! To my grandmother, thank you for raising me to be confident, ambitious, and for always encouraging me to follow my dreams. Also…thank you for my gorgeous evening gown! Mom, thank you for always being my coach, stylist, and sounding board. For steaming my dresses, going on jewelry hunts, and for my amazing opening number outfit. Dad, thank you for being my biggest cheerleader! To my mother and father in law, thank you both for not only allowing me to marry your amazing son, but also for constantly filling my life with love and support…and pretty flowers!

The Gift of Life Donor Program and Donate Life Pennsylvania: Thank you for allowing me to volunteer with your organizations and for allowing me the opportunity to advocate with you. I am so proud of the things we have done, of what we will continue to do, and the fantastic things still to come! I have new ideas…so get ready. Susan Koomar, thank you for facilitating so much of this and for being such a great cheerleader. I’m looking forward to a fantastic year ahead working together.

My Sponsors: To everyone who helped in some way with financial support (The Joyce Agency, Sally Smith, Julie Williams, Jen Kindler, & my amazing colleagues at WVIA), advertisements (The Gift of Life Donor Program & Geisinger Health System), or donations of goods or services, thank you so very much! This was truly an undertaking that would not have been possible without your support.

My Supporters: To everyone who has reached out in person, on social media, through text or phone, thank you for all your kind words and well wishes. I love you all so very much, and cannot believe how blessed I am to have so many wonderful people in my life.

Jodi and Scott Cessna: Thank you for organizing this amazing opportunity and for welcoming me with open arms into the International system. I can now understand your passion and enthusiasm for this system, and I am so happy it’s what has brought us together. Looking forward to continuing to get to know you better and hopefully one day becoming an official part of #TeamCessna!

Our Judges: Thank you for putting us at ease and for taking time out of your very busy schedules.  I  do not envy the difficult decisions you had to make  since so many of our contestants were just wonderful . 

To my ladies “backstage”: Julia, thank you for being my cheerleader and helping me get my “stage face” on! Camille, thank you for being awesome, doing hair and makeup, and keeping the mood light even when we’re all nervous as heck. Barbara, thank you for the gorgeous hair (even when I’ve basically shellac-ed it to my head, you knew what to do!). Debbie thank you for helping calm each of us down before interviews and giving us the great advice to breathe…I almost forgot that! Rachel, thank you for keeping everything running smoothly in the dressing room and for rocking some fabulous wrist candy bracelets! Sami, thank you for handling our rehearsal so efficiently, for being the MC with the mostess, for allowing me to coo over your little bundle of joy all weekend, and especially for helping me pick out my jewelry wardrobe. Jean LeSegne Designs is THE go-to place for all your jewelry and shoe needs!

The 2015 Teen, Miss, and Mrs. Pennsylvania: Mary, I am so inspired by your bold creative nature. You are the perfect fit for FIT, and I look forward to seeing all the amazing things still to come for you! Kailey, you are such a beautiful young woman filled with heart. Thank you for the cute plush from your platform (Cuddles for Kids), and thank you for all the amazing memories! And to my newest mentor and inspiration Cheryl, I adore you! YOU are a true example of a servant leader and I’m so looking forward to the next time we can get together and catch up!

Mrs. Delegates: Patty and Katie, ladies you are some of the most intelligent, sweetest, and passionate women I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I wish we had even more of a chance to spend time together and really get to know one another, but I hope each of you consider competing again in the future. Each of you deserves that crown!

Miss and Teen Delegates: Girls, seriously. You ladies rock! I wish when I was your ages I had your intelligence, poise, grace, and beauty. I cannot wait to see what you lovely women accomplish on your journeys through life! And I have to do a special shoutout to my pageant sister, friend, and “coach” Kristina Marinkovich. I have no words to even begin describing how fantastic I think you are. Thank you for your friendship, your advice, and your kindness. I am so blessed that we’ve been brought together on this journey and I am even more excited to continue it throughout life!

To our Brand New 2016 Teen, Miss, and Mrs. Pennsylvania: I am so excited for each of you. Madison, Sherri, and Erin you are about to have the absolute best year ahead and each of you absolutely deserves it. Shine bright and share yourselves and your passions with the world this year just as you’ve shared them with me and it will be a better place! Congratulations and I can’t wait to follow your amazing year!!!!!!

This was my first adult pageant. I had no coaching and no experience, but I absolutely had fun. Oh, and I also managed to snag two awards: Most Photogenic and People’s Choice. Not bad for a complete beginner right? I’ll take it. You see folks, I truly believe it’s all about the journey, not just the destination. This journey has been truly amazing, and is far from over! God’s delay is certainly not his denial, so Erin…have a fantastic year. But make sure to get a step stool for the crowning March 18, 2017…I’m going to be wearing heels!

THANK YOU EVERYONE!

XOXO,  Sara

That little voice that tries to talk you out of it....

I had the pleasure of meeting someone this past weekend who, let’s just say, did not agree with my choice to enter a pageant. In fact, she looked at me incredulously and inquired why I thought I even had a chance at winning. Hmpf…..a younger, and less mature version of Sarah would have possibly cried, retorted something negative or, even worse, I could have agreed with her. Luckily, I have come a very long way on the self-esteem train, and I knew exactly WHY I entered this amazing pageant system. So I told her. She had tears in her eyes, and suddenly…we were hugging. #thepowerofpositivity

However, after this crazy encounter, I started to ponder all of the amazing women out there who might not take advantage of an amazing opportunity like this. How many beautiful, strong, deserving, powerful, and caring ladies are forgoing this dance because they think they are too short, too tall, too big, or too small? (Okay Dr. Seuss…that one was for you!) The answer, unfortunately, is too many!

While my initial reason for entering the Mrs. Pennsylvania International pageant is to promote my platform and raise awareness for organ and tissue donation, I feel I have a new secondary goal. I want to prove to women everywhere that you are good enough to do great things! It’s great to make improvements here and there in order to be the best version of ourselves, however ultimately…more than your looks will define your success in life. Is it your shining personality? Maybe it’s your unstoppable confidence? Perhaps it’s your servant heart. Whatever leads you on your journey, share it with the world. After all, life begins at the end of your comfort zone!

Myths and Misinformation

One of the biggest obstacles I have encountered while advocating organ and tissue donation has been the incredible myths and misconceptions about donation. Here are just some of the top reasons I've heard to date. Hopefully, this might help clear up some of that confusion!

MYTH: Doctors will not try to save my life if they know I am a registered organ donor.

TRUTH: Paramedics, doctors and nurses will do everything possible to save your life. The medical staff is completely separate from the transplant team. Transplant surgeons are called only after all efforts to save a life have been exhausted.


MYTH: I can only sign up to donate when getting/renewing my driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID.

TRUTH: You can sign up to be an organ donor at any time — and it only takes 30 seconds.


MYTH: My religion does not approve of donation.

TRUTH: Many organized religions support organ donation, considering it a generous act that is the individual's choice.


MYTH: I can’t be a donor because of my age or health issues.

TRUTH: Anyone can decide to be a donor regardless of age or health. In fact, the oldest organ donor in the U.S. was 92.  Your ability to donate is determined at the time of death.


MYTH: My family will be charged for donating my organs.

TRUTH: There are no costs to the donor’s family for donation. It is also free to sign up to be an organ donor or to have it included on your driver’s license, learner’s permit or photo ID.


MYTH: Donation will interfere with plans for my funeral.

TRUTH: Donation should not interfere with customary funeral plans, including those with open-casket viewings. Doctors maintain dignity and respect for the donor at all times.

For even more truth and information, visit this page  Donate Life PA.

Love and Light,  xoxo Sarah