In Memoriam: Sarah Heppenstall

The RCTC community was saddened by the passing of ardent hiker and RCTC supporter Sarah Heppenstall. Sarah died peacefully at age 62 on Oct. 15, 2022 after a short, courageous and spirited struggle with cancer. As her husband Tal said, “For Sarah, her glioblastoma was never a 'War on Cancer', but rather more like her last hike. There were steep hills and slippery slopes with disappointing falls but there was also beauty: the daily views of Colton and of Emma and frequent sightings of a wonderful set of six children and the other seven adorable grandchildren. There was a hike support group full of family, friends, wonderful nannies, UPMC healthcare heroes and devoted Shady Side educators there every step of the way. This was a typical Sarah hike, grueling and longer than she planned, but she was always thankful for the journey in spite of her disease.”

Sarah's zeal for hiking and nature included completing the RCT Full Challenge in 2016 and 2019, backpacking and hiking on the Baker Trail, volunteering as a Rachel Carson Trail steward in Harrison Hills Park, volunteering as a Tree Tender with Tree Pittsburgh, and usually getting in about five miles a day walking to errands and activities in the city, green hiking poles tapping away. Sarah's deepest love, joy and dedication was her family. They always came first, and they did hike! We were delighted to see Sarah and her grandchildren, three and four year old Emma and Colton, successfully complete the Friends & Family Challenge in 2021 (with many stops to play in Crouse Run!). Our hearts go out to Tal and all of Sarah's family.


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