PT's Barista Sara Englehardt

PT's Cafe in Barrington Village is in the midst of a two-week silent auction to benefit barista Sara Englehardt, who recently relapsed with cancer. (Photography by Lauren Neuer and illustration provided by Food+Flicks)

PT’s rallies around barista

Friends, co-workers unite to support Sara Engelhardt
January 31, 2011

If you’ve ever had a latte made by Sara Engelhardt, chances are you never forgot the vibrantly trendy, stylishly spirited barista pulling your espresso shots.

PT’S AUCTION FOR SARA

A silent auction featuring more than 90 pieces of original artwork and services — including massages and haircuts — to benefit PT’s barista Sara Engelhardt.
WHEN: Beginning Monday, Jan. 31 and running through Feb. 13.
LOCATION: PT’s Café, 5660 SW 29th St
MORE INFO: 785-273-4920

She’s one of those people you remember. Forever.

So in December, when word came that Engelhardt’s battle with cancer had returned, no one was surprised when her friends and co-workers at PT’s Café in Barrington Village joined her fight.

The 24-year-old woman, who has worked at PT’s for the past four years, recently relapsed in her struggle with Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer that affects the body’s immune system.

During previous treatments of the disease which was initially diagnosed in September 2009, Engelhardt relied on the services of the Marian Clinic to help pay for her medical needs. Now, with her condition requiring a more aggressive approach, the infectiously charming Engelhardt is finding support from the southwest Topeka cafe known for its spectacular coffee.

“Everybody treats each other like family here,” PT’s Café manager Keith Dunbar explained. “It’s like your sister has cancer … we know we HAVE to do all we can to help.”

And that is exactly what they are doing.

Beginning Monday, Jan. 31, and running through Feb. 13, PT’s Café is holding a silent auction at the coffee shop at 5660 SW 29th St.

According to Nikki Strong, a barista at PT’s, the response by people donating items for the auction has been amazing. “We have about 90 items so far. Not only is there a lot of great artwork, but also services like haircuts and massages.”

“A lot of our regular customers really wanted to be involved and donated items because they care so much about (Sara),” Strong said.

Over the course of the two-week event, items will be on display at the cafe, where people can place bids.

On Valentine’s Day, the day after the auction ends, winning bidders will be announced, but the support won’t stop there. All of the sales at the coffee shop that day will be donated to Engelhardt, and that amount will be matched by a donation from PT’s Coffee Roasting Co.’s wholesale division. In addition to the money raised during the auction, organizers hope the Valentine’s Day event raises an additional $5,000.

For Dunbar, this is just the start of supporting Engelhardt. “When she relapsed, we were shocked and worried. Then we immediately said, ‘We’ve got to do something.’”

For more information on the fundraiser contact PT’s Café at 785-273-4920 or the Art Auction for Sara Facebook page. You can also follow Engelhardt’s journey through her whatabeautifulbuzz blog.