DIXON – Sarah Schnake, the 18-year-old Dixon teen battling a rare form of childhood pancreatic cancer, died Monday afternoon, a day after returning home from a Make a Wish trip to Disney World in Florida with her family.
"The heaven of all the heavens gained a valiant warrior today," her family posted on Sarah's Fight Club Facebook page. "Today at 12:31 p.m., Sarah Schnake took her last breath here on earth and was reunited with her older brother Kenton in the kingdom of heaven. We rejoice in the life that she lived, short as it may have been."
Sarah was diagnosed in February 2012 with an extremely rare form of pancreatic cancer. She never was able to return to a high school classroom, but did not let her illness prevent her from hanging out with friends, going to prom or realizing her dream of graduating with her classmates, which she did June 1 in Lancaster Gym.
She found out the month before that her cancer, which had been in remission, had returned.
She planned to attend Sauk Valley Community College and become a child life specialist, a nurse who communicates with children in emergency rooms or going through treatments.
Arrangements are being made, and will be posted on the Facebook page.
Sarah is survived by her parents, Jerry and Venesa Schnake, siblings Kyle, Abbie, Aarron and Hannah, and her best friend, Stevie Hicks. Her brother Kenton died from injuries received in a car accident in 1998. He was 6.
A previously planned fundraising run/walk, 5k for the Knockout, will be held at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at The Meadows in Dixon. Registration is from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday at Jimmy John's, and at 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the park. Call Parker Ortgiesen, 815-677-3930, for more information.