Spring 2014

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Photo by Ellen Jaskol

Nancy Sharp: Living Boldly

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Nancy Sharp had just given birth to twins when she and her husband, Brett, learned that his brain cancer had re-emerged. He battled the cancer, a pediatric brain tumor that spread throughout his brain and down his spine, for nearly seven years before he died in 2004, leaving Sharp as a widow with two young children at age 37. Sharp (C88), who had worked at Ketchum and as a public relations director at UNICEF in New York City, realized it was up to her to cast a different life for herself and her children, and that required a bold change. Drawn by the Rockies and a sense of permanence and peace she experienced in the mountains, Sharp and son Casey and daughter Rebecca headed west to Denver, a city she knew from occasional visits with her Northwestern roommate, Julie Malek (WCAS88, GSESP91). After a few months in Colorado, Sharp read about Steve Saunders, a widowed TV news anchor with two teenage boys, in 5280 Magazine’s “Single in the City” issue. On a whim, she invited Saunders to meet for coffee. Instead they had a four-hour dinner, and after dating for more than a year, they married in July 2008. Sharp, who recently wrote Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss and Bold Living (Books & Books Press, 2014), is a writer and keynote speaker who often shares her story and message with the health care community, women’s groups and businesses. She’s also mom and stepmom to four kids, ages 12 to 22. “You can’t wait for life to happen,” she says. “You have to make life happen.”