‘Ghost girl of Gonzaga’ Sara comes back to inspire peers

Sara Testani was known as the “Ghost Girl,” at her high school St. Aloysius Gonzaga in Mississauga.

The 17-year-old is a graduate of social worker Dan McGann’s run-therapy program at Credit Valley Hospital. The courageous young woman was a special guest speaker March 7 at the CameronHelps’ AGM March 7.

She was known as the “Ghost Girl” because she would disappear for long periods of time getting treatment for her Cystic Fibrosis. No one knew she had CF and the burden of keeping this from her
friends was difficult, she said.

Earlier in her school years, she was bullied for being overweight, caused by the drugs she needed to take because of her CF. Her answer was to stop taking her medication which resulted
in hospitalization and ultimately cutting years off her life.

“I was thinking not only was I fat, but I had this disease and felt like this freak of nature,” she said.  At one point she said her depression was so bad that she felt like taking her own life.

The turning point for her was when she opened up and told her friends about her CF. Teachers helped and she realized her friends were there to help and she was not a burden on anyone.

Joining the run group at Credit Valley made her realize that she was not alone. “ When you are in a group, you realize that there are people that are hurting too. I listened to Dan’s story and just like his situation, I was tired of running away from my own fears.”

She was inspired by meeting and hearing Dave Harris as well, who has pledged to run 19 marathons in memory of his son. “I believe I am alive to make a difference. Yes, I have CF, but that doesn’t mean CF has me,” she says. She recently spoke at her high school at an
assembly with Dan McGann.

Together their message was “ What you resist will persist; only what you face can you change.” Success comes from facing your fears, not by running away from them, says Dan.

The worst thing in facing adversity is to do nothing.  When you are
passive, you are the victim, he added.