Sarah Lomax Gray
As “bestie” of Lauren Savoy since High School, Sarah was devastated with the loss of her friend so early in her life. Lauren and Sarah shared many similar interests and had dreams of raising their families together. Sarah spoke with Lauren during the summer of her remission in 2011 about her feelings on being diagnosed with skin cancer and Lauren told her, “I just didn’t know I could get skin cancer at 24, I was good about wearing sunscreen and never went in a tanning bed, I just didn’t know.” That conversation stayed with Sarah. She used her background in corporate event planning and graphic design to work with her younger sister, Emily Gonsoulin, on an event that could bring awareness to skin cancer. Emily and Sarah began to plan a 5K race for the Spring of 2013--a race that would incorporate both fun and awareness. The Hat Run is a 5k in which participants are encouraged to wear a fun hat, get their skin screened and learn a little about sun safety. Towards the end of Lauren’s life, she was given word of the plan to have an awareness race in her hometown and she offered a big smile of approval. Lauren passed away two days later.
The LSO Foundation went on to host five successful Hat Runs in Baton Rouge Louisiana, bring education to the community on skin cancer prevention, publish and tour a children's book on sun safety and make critical connections with others in the skin cancer field. Losing her friend has been hard, yet Sarah has found some solace in the success of the LSO Foundation.
In the fall of 2018, The LSO Foundation Board of Directors made the decision to move the LSO Foundation under the direction of local cancer center, The Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Foundation. Here the LSO Foundation will be an Endowed Fund keeping the mission and restrictions on giving to skin cancer and sun safety initiatives throughout Louisiana.
Sarah is available to give adult presentations and children's book readings. She asks that a donation be made to the Endowed Fund for each presentation.
Sarah explains it simply, "I hate that we have Lauren's story, but we have it for a reason. It brings home the fact that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and we have to start protecting and preventing sun damage to our skin now, not when we are 60 or even 30….now in our teens, and in our twenties.”
Sarah makes a happy home with her husband Paul, two children Gavin and Campbell, and a Japanese Chin/Pekinese puppy named Ellie. She also has a career in residential real estate in the Baton Rouge area. Sarah keeps a craft room in the third bedroom full of Lauren and Sarah’s unfinished craft projects and every Saturday she tries to tackle one new art project if she isn’t at a neighborhood estate sale.