Sara Sarkey’s Dedication to True Stories

We were first introduced to Sara Sarkey, Sr Scientific Director of Neuroscience and General Medicine at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, after an Erasing the Distance program at her workplace.

When the performance began, she noted:

“I was drawn in. It felt so real. He was full of humor and insights. It really resonated. And when he finished, I realized that he, the actor, didn’t have the issues reflective of the story. That really struck me, the intensity with which the actors of Erasing the Distance really get into the mind of the person who shared the story and translate it for the audience.”

She was intrigued, touched, and motivated to see more.

That was in 2015 and Sara has since been instrumental in helping to bring Erasing the Distance to regularly perform for Takeda employees. After that first experience, Sara quickly brought another Erasing the Distance program to her team’s retreat day.

“The work of Erasing the Distance allows us at Takeda to really feel what the patients we try to help every day are going through. What matters most to them in their lives. Being able to listen to the stories and see them acted out has given us a renewed sense of why we do what we do.”

Since then, Sara’s relationship with Erasing the Distance has grown. Sara was part of the Takeda group that sponsored My Other Full-Time Job, adapted and directed by Artistic Director Heather Bodie. The sponsorship made it possible for us to develop a new script that would be particularly relevant for Takeda employees and their corporate partners. She was extremely helpful with her committee work on this project and she was also instrumental in championing the work being shared with the public.

“I want to help expand the voice of individuals impacted by mental health issues. And part of that is supplying opportunities for the work of Erasing the Distance to reach a larger audience. It’s important others see this work, too.”

My Other Full-Time Job was performed both privately at Takeda and publicly at Stage 773 in June, 2017. The private performance at Takeda cultivated new relationships, including one that led to Erasing the Distance performing for a local major insurance company.

After so many examples of her supporting our work, it was clear Sara would be a dynamic addition to Erasing the Distance’s Board of Directors. Executive Director Diana Clegg asked Sara if she’d be interested, noting her personal commitment to the organization and her efforts to empower patients. And she accepted!

We are already so grateful that Sara has joined our family at Erasing the Distance as a board member. Sara immediately went to work surveying board members to assess the current skills and capacity within the board and recommend any areas in need of growth. These insights are extremely valuable as we move to increase the size of our board. 

Sara understands our work as an audience member, a collaborator, and a board member. Her insights are a gift to the whole organization, and to our future audience members.

“We all look forward to expanding Erasing the Distance and showing the impact mental illness has on all parts of society. One of the struggles in treating mental illness is everyone thinks it’s not them. But it’s not ‘those people’… it’s us. Together, we’re seeing the world through other’s eyes,” shares Sara.

Thank you, Sara!

We are a stronger organization thanks to your talents, time, and energy.

This article originally ran in our 2017-2018 Annual Newsletter



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