Meet Sara Knight, SJGF Founder but, more importantly,
Julia Grace’s mom.
During the many cycles of Julia’s life, illness, treatment and care, Sara, her husband Jason, and Julia’s brother Cameron were inspired by Vivian Greene’s quote: “Life isn’t about waiting for the storms to pass; it’s learning to dance in the rain.” According to Julia’s family, she truly lived out this quote, and inspired everyone who loved her and knew her, to do the same.
While caring for a medically fragile child for twelve years, Sara learned, as other parents have, that social, government, and insurance services are not only unable to fulfill most needs a family is faced with, they don’t even come close to providing the holistic support the entire family desperately deserves. This reality motivated Sara to establish a program dedicated to walking alongside families and grants wishes to ‘fill in the gaps’ so a family facing the unimaginable is fully supported.
in sara's own words ~
During long hospital stays with Julia, I often met other families going through serious medical issues with their child. I was drawn to them. At that time I had nothing to offer but a smile, a hug, a prayer, or a listening ear. As we talked with one another in the lonely halls of the Pediatric ICU, sharing about our children and what brought us there, for a moment we didn’t feel so alone. We cherished the human connection. Even though the journeys we had been on with our children varied, hope, faith, and our fierce love for our children is what united us. The parents I met were often weary, worried, and overwhelmed, but always holding on to hope. Each family left me longing to do more. I could have never imagined that one day I would, but it would be in Julia’s memory and to carry on her legacy. I think God used those vulnerable moments to stir my heart and plant within me His purposes that would lead me to serving and loving others in the midst of a storm with their child; and He used Julia to show me how.
Sara continues to be drawn to families in the midst of a storm with their child, and is so grateful for the community’s support that helps provide Raindancer families in Virginia and West Virginia with gifts that bring comfort, joy, help with day-to-day needs, and oftentimes dramatically improve and change children’s lives.
Through SJGF, Sara and her team of volunteers enter a family’s ‘inner circle’. From there, she is able to discern needs and wishes for their Raindancer, connect them with various resources, and also guide, mentor, and assist the parents as they navigate the various systems and trials of having a child with medical and/or special needs. Gifts and special support are given to both the siblings and parents, and programs have been developed so families can be properly supported for the long haul. Sara often tells a family when she meets them for the first time: “I hope you know you are stuck with us now,” and has kept true to that statement in more ways than one. Sara explains, "We are not here to just give a one-time gift; we do life with our families. We are here for the long-haul."
Annual holiday parties feel more like family reunions; special events created for Raindancer moms nurture new friendships; gatherings for bereaved moms create a safe place to share; and sleepovers at Sara’s for the teen girls allow siblings to bond over pizza, classes they don’t like, and stories of what they’ve each been through that most people their age don’t know how to talk to them about.
Since founding SJGF in 2014, Sara has been determined to say ‘yes’ to families who hear ‘no’ way too often and has created a non-profit that has become the go-to resource for families and healthcare providers alike, who are looking for support for their patients.
SJGF brings the community together and inspires volunteerism in all ages. Since being founded in 2014, there have been over a thousand volunteers who have done their part to help SJGF help Raindancers, Dance in the Rain.
Even though hundreds of families have been helped, SJGF has never paid an employee and depends solely on the help of volunteers to help children Dance in the Rain!
Along with being the founder of The Sweet Julia Grace Foundation, Sara is also a Realtor at Linton Hall Realtors with a track record of approximately $10 million in sales since 2017.
Given her immense contributions, she has been awarded a “Local Hero Award,” the “Senator Colgan Advocacy Award,” and the “Agnes L. Colgan Community Service Award”.
She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Marshall University and currently resides in Bristow, Virginia with her husband Jason. Their son, and Julia's brother & hero, Cameron is finishing his degree at George Mason University.
Sara and Jason
Sara and Cameron