With the heaviest of hearts, we want to share that our dear friend and colleague Dr. Sarah Hallberg has passed away from lung cancer. We are devastated. Our deepest sympathies go out to her family, friends, and loved ones.
Sarah has been open about her condition. In a 2020 piece she explained what it was like to live with stage IV lung cancer during a pandemic, despite having never smoked and being only in her 40s. Given the grim prognosis several years ago, it's remarkable that she lived until today.
Then again, if you know Sarah, you wouldn't be surprised that she repeatedly beat the odds. Challenging the status quo was simply a part of her DNA. This fueled her passion for helping those who may not have a voice in our complicated healthcare system, inspiring those around her through an unmatched combination of courage, compassion, and curiosity.
The universe aligned to bring us together in 2015, and for this we feel endlessly fortunate. Virta was just a year old and we were in need of allies in mainstream medicine. Sarah had just given a seminal TED talk on diabetes reversal, and sought us out to offer to collaborate on our defining research. To this she brought unmistakable energy—a desire to understand and publish scientific truth combined with relentless positivity—and a humble wisdom that made you want to listen and learn.
Sarah became the Principal Investigator in our 5-year clinical trial and co-author of more than a dozen manuscripts and articles. She has become a leading voice in fighting for a better life for those living with diabetes and other metabolic diseases. She has spoken to congressional members, CEOs, physicians, and nearly every influential group you can think of to advocate on behalf of the patient. She literally rocked the world of diabetes care!
No single quality defines her, but it is this advocacy that we will all carry forward to honor her legacy. We embrace patient-first principles at Virta, and no one exemplified this attribute more than Sarah. Her selflessness defied description. When she was diagnosed in 2017, she underwent emergency brain surgery. However, in those early years, most of our team had no clue, as Sarah quickly went back to her passion of helping patients without missing a beat.
Our team is grieving, as are so many others. Yet we are also thankful—thankful for the opportunity and privilege to know her and to be inspired by her, for her friendship and dedication, and for modeling grace and humility. We miss you Sarah. You are forever in our hearts.
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