Sara was born on September 4th, 1972, to Hilda Barreto and the late Miguel A. Diaz in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She was the baby of the house and the only girl. Sara loved playing with her two brothers, and her Strawberry Shortcake dolls. She used to cater to both of them with little cakes and cookies baked in her Strawberry Shortcake electric oven. Sara was known around her neighborhood for her joyful attitude and her dark baby curls and big glasses.
After graduating from San Antonio Catholic School in 1990, she went on to attend the University of Puerto Rico and study communications. She followed up her Bachelors in Arts degree that she received in 1994 with a Masters in communications from the University of the Sacred Heart. In February of 2000 Sara moved to Gainesville, and a year later she met Karen while out with friends at a local place; from then on they were inseparable.
Karen always encouraged Sara to continue growing personally and professionally. When Sara realized that public relations were not her calling, Karen, who had just completed a PhD in entomology, supported Sara in furthering her own education to become the true healer that she really was.
Throughout the next 15 years, Sara was unstoppable, insatiable. She loved learning so much that she went back to school multiple times obtaining not only another Bachelor degree in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, but also two additional Masters degrees in Acupuncture and Medical Cannabis, a Special Certification in Sports Medicine, and a Doctorate degree in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Sara embraced her true calling, and never stopped growing to be able to help others. She opened her own practice, and it quickly flourished as patients got to know how kind and dedicated she was, making everyone feel unique. Sara knew how to listen, and she particularly loved a good challenge when people that have lost all hope saw themselves regaining their health after being treated by her (she loved to perform her “voodoo” tricks).
While Sara was blooming professionally, God wanted to bless her family to help her grow personally as well. In April 2010, Karen gave birth to a beautiful baby girl Rogan Sahara, who instantly became Sara’s pride and joy. She was definitely devoted to Rogan, always taking her to exciting places like the Zoo, and canoeing whenever Karen was traveling for work. Sara made sure that she was always the “Fun Mom” in Rogan’s eyes.
Sara’s family grew even bigger when in February 2017, after several health complications, she was able to give birth to Cian Mikheil. Seeing him today and remembering how frail and tiny he was when he was born seems surreal, when it is in fact palpable proof of God’s miracles. As Sara used to say, “seeing Rogan’s and Cían's smiling faces when they finally got to be together at home, made it all worthwhile.”
As she proved throughout her life, Sara was determined. She proved it through her studies, through her spiritual growth and through her desire for a big family. This wish came true for the third time in November 2019, when she gave birth (this time with a full term pregnancy) to another beautiful girl, Maighread Isolina.
Even though Sara’s health kept on deteriorating internally (you would not have noticed by her appearance), she saw this as an opportunity of learning and growth. Her passion about alternative medicine, and the possibility of how new treatments could help not only her, but her patients made her jump at every chance to learn more through new and revolutionary studies, to which she was invited to participate most of the time. Her passion for life made her push herself physically as well, by going to the gym and showing others how even after suffering multiple strokes, and having had open heart surgery to replace her mitral valve with a mechanical one, she was able to smile, put on her best face, and work as hard as everyone else (her personal trainer, Beth, always believed in her).
Sara was quite a character. She had strong opinions and she wasn’t afraid to share them, but at the same time, she was unable to belittle, or offend anyone because of her convictions. She loved easily and deeply. When Sarita wasn’t studying, she was spending time with her kids and Karen at one of Florida’s theme parks and the occasional Disney Cruise. Creating memories with her family was something she enjoyed immensely; and she became quite the pro at putting together Lego structures thanks to her three wonderful children.
Sara was a healer. She healed not only with her hands, but with her mind, and heart, which is a rare quality to have. Her patients were as much a part of her family as her family was. She was a doctor, a mother, a wife, a friend, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a daughter. She will be remembered in each of these aspects, and in so many more. Sara will live in our hearts forever.
Sara was predeceased by her father Miguel A. Diaz, her grandparents Sahara and Miguel Diaz, and Maria and Tomas Barreto, and a plethora of uncles and aunts. She is survived by Karen McKenzie (spouse), Rogan Diaz-McKenzie (daughter, 13), Cían Diaz-McKenzie (son, 6) and Maighread Diaz-McKenzie (daughter, 3); Mother, Hilda Barreto, 2 Brothers Miguel (Mickey) Diaz (Susana) and their 3 children: Maria Luisa (Mayssa), Elena and Patricia (Stiles) and Jose (Pepo) Diaz (Rafael), Brother in law, Ray McKenzie (Liz) and nephew Ethan, Brother in law, Michael Butler (Liz) and nephew Jordan Moffitt, niece Emily Moffitt, nieces Liberty Ann Butler, Izzy Butler; Mother in Law, Barbara Butler; 3 aunts, Gloria Franceschini, Ernestina (Nego) Barreto and Maria del Pilar Diaz and a host of cousins and other family members.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Antiphospholipid Syndrome Foundation of America (Donate | APS Foundation of America, Inc. (apsfa.org)), would be greatly appreciated. It is a cause that Sara was very passionate about.
A visitation will be held on Friday, July 21, 2023, from 4:00-7:00pm at the Ammen Family Cremation & Funeral Care, 950 Malabar Road SE, Palm Bay 32907. A Funeral Mass, officiated by Fr. Karl Bergin, will be held 1:00pm on Saturday, July 22, 2023, at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church, 1710 Hickory Street, Melbourne. Burial will be private.
Please contact our local florist, Designs of The Times, 321-356-9377 or www.designsofthetimes.com and let them know the floral delivery time should be no later than 11:00am on Friday, July 21, 2023
Ammen Funeral Home is located at 950 Malabar Road SE, Palm Bay 32907 between SanFilippo and Emerson Drive. A quarter mile west of 95 on the south side of Malabar, a short distance from Walmart.