It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Sarah Doherty. Sarah passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully on January 5th, 2023.
Sarah is survived by her husband Kerith, her children Josh (Elsa), Abby (John), Hannah (Dariusz), and Kelly (Laurenne), grandchildren Ivan and Zeke. Her siblings, Mary, John, Paul, Margaret, twin sister Susan, Liz, and Billy. She is predeceased by her parents John and Jane and brother Steve.
Sarah was, and will always be, a truly phenomenal woman with the kindest heart, the brightest smile, and the most fierce and adventurous spirit. At age 13, she was hit by a drunk driver and lost her leg, but she refused to let external limitations and conventions define her. “I’m a person first, and then I’m a person with one leg.”
On paper, measured by her achievements alone, Sarah led a truly impressive life. She was a competitive ski racer, and a member of the 1988 U.S. Paralympic ski team. She climbed Mt. Rainier, Mt. Kilimanjaro, and was the first amputee to summit Denali (Mt. McKinley) on one leg. She was a pediatric occupational therapist who loved working with kids.
In person, she was even more incredible. A loving mother, grandmother, wife, sister, and friend. An outdoor enthusiast who was happy on the water or the trails, amongst the waves or the trees. A teacher, an adventurer, an innovator, who valued creativity, independence, and inclusivity.
However, Sarah will be remembered most for the love and kindness that she exuded throughout her life. Sarah had an incredible ability to connect with anyone she met, on a deep level and she has touched so many lives. In every place she lived – the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand – she became a central figure in the community. People were drawn to Sarah; she was a social butterfly of the most beautiful colours.
The list of things Sarah couldn’t do is short, and the list of things she didn’t try is even shorter. Sarah was once quoted as saying “life has no romance without risk”. She lived life to the fullest and wanted the same for everyone.
We could all aspire to be a bit more like Sarah, with her resilient spirit, her kind heart, and her unwillingness to let fear hold her back. We will all carry her memory forward with the stories we share.
A celebration of the extra-ordinary life of Sarah Doherty will be held in the summer, at a time and place to be announced.