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Sara's Got A Sunbeam

This is a song I wrote for and about my dear friend Sara as she battled cancer at the age of 21.

Photo of Brad Wolfe
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This is a song I wrote for Sara when she was facing a rare form of cancer called Ewing's sarcoma. It turned out music, and in particular my music, made a physical difference for her during her fight. Therefore, I brought my guitar often to her hospital bedside to perform. Secretly, I wrote this song for Sara, which became an anthem of sorts for her family and friends.  Sara passed away after 1.5 years of fighting this disease at the young age of 21, but in thinking about her life and mine and using her words as inspiration (she told me she thought I should pursue music professionally), I left a career in academia to pursue art that would help other young adults fighting cancer. 

Sara also inspired me to found the Sunbeam Foundation, which has raised over $1 million to fight rare and underfunded pediatric cancers and, through music and other creative means, has spread hope to thousands of young adults.

This song describes who Sara was to me and all who knew her. It helps me remember her and how courageous she was. And, by letting inspiration course through me, it changed my entire trajectory.


Brad Wolfe


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Photo of Morgan Meinel

Brad Wolfe  This song has me in tears and simultaneously smiling ear to ear! Thank you. What a beautiful tribute to your late, dear friend, Sara :) 

On our Palliative and Hospice Care Unit at Mount Sinai Hospital, we always encourage and embrace music! We have a music therapist who comes to play with and for patients and their families, and volunteers who do the same. I can not emphasize enough the importance of music therapy  - it brings infinite joy and levity to each of our patients. Often, when someone is actively dying, we will ask the family if they would like for us to play their loved ones favorite song, as they slip away. If all health care workers could engage in these same efforts, within a hospital setting or at home, I think the death and dying process could be that much more peaceful, comforting, and meaningful. 

Thanks again for sharing! :) 

Photo of Shane Zhao

+1 to you pursuing music professionally Brad! This is such a beautiful song. A friend of mine use to make a compilation of her favorite songs every year — together she called the compilation "the sound-track to her life." I always thought that it was a beautiful way of collecting and celebrating someone's experiences. Building on Morgan's story of music therapy I wonder if there might be a way for patients and their loved one to co-create personalized sound-tracks to their lives. 

Photo of Brad Wolfe

@Shane thank you.  I actually think this is a brilliant component to a final artistic project related to our final Impact Phase creativity project.  I've been exploring the idea of death + the essence of someone; when we consider the question, "how might we die in a way that reflects who we are" (a comment Paul Bennet made) I think what that gets as is reflecting on who we are, i.e. our essence.  Communicating our "essence" is what happens in end of life palliative care therapy, in eulogies, in sharing our memories with our loved one when looking back on life. The key is to distill our essence. A life soundtrack is one awesome way. I think also some representative photos. Key quotes or messages or notes.  I think compiling and displaying "Essence Kits" could be a really cool part of our end result.  Thoughts?

Photo of Brad Wolfe

See my comment below to Shane and let me know what you think of it!  Thank you Morgan. I can't wait to talk with you more!

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