Part 2: 2021 UW Commit Quentin Moore Learned Persistence From His Mother

Mike Martin

“Mommy’s dead!”

Five-year-old Tate Moore, the younger brother of Quentin Moore, who's now a 2021 University of Washington football commit at tight end, looked down at his mother lying on the floor and screamed this out.

Sara Steele-Moore laughs about it now. 

She fell in the hallway next to the living room because of their playful ways.

"The boys had sprayed Pledge on the hardwood floors to make their remote control cars go faster,” Sara said of the long-ago incident.

Setting events in motion, young Tate opened the back door and set off the house alarm.

“I came flying down the stairs of our three-story house and slid across the hardwood and fell on my left side,” Sara said.

Hearing her crash, Tate came running and made his scary pronouncement.

Sara gathered herself and turned off the alarm. She checked herself for bumps and bruises. She was OK.

But as the day wore on, she felt pain in a place where there shouldn’t have been any.

“I started to have a pain in my breast and felt a lump,” Sara said.

She called the doctor and scheduled an appointment.

Sara was used to pain, but it was usually emotional. It stemmed from financial hardship placed on her and her two boys after she became a single mom. 

They were three months removed from being homeless. Having a house to fall down in for three months actually seemed like a good thing.

“I was happy to be able to crawl onto the living room carpet of my own home and regain my breath from the fall,” she said.

Steele-Moore had shuttled her eldest son Quentin from a friend's home in Tacoma to Inglemoor High School in North Seattle before finding the new home. Sara put her boy’s needs first and herself last — ignoring the constant pain in her left arm as best she could.

“I kept saying to myself, ‘What if I there is something wrong and I have breast cancer?’ ” she said. “I knew there was something wrong for a while, but I kept putting off a visit to the doctor.”

The first medical appointment  was uneventful. They said she didn't have cancer.  

Between March and June 2012, Steele-Moore went through numerous consultations. Each time the doctors said no to breast cancer. They suggested that maybe she had hurt herself while driving, that the damage appeared to have come from a seatbelt. 

This went on for three months. A persistent nurse got involved. 

“My nurse kept pushing me to do further testing,” she said.

Sara got a second opinion. A third. A fourth.

She underwent a mammogram, an ultrasound, a biopsy and a double lumpectomy.

Doctors finally discovered several cancerous tumors. 

Steele-Moore agreed to a double mastectomy following the Fourth of July. Even with all of the delays, the cancer was caught early. Yet the doctors found 12 tumors during the surgery.

Sara is quick to credit her creative kids and that unrelenting nurse with uncovering her cancer.

“I tell my boys all the time that they saved my life,” she said.

It was no wonder her son, Quentin Moore, that aspiring football player and now promising Husky tight end in 2021, struggled in school back then.

And it's no wonder, with such a determined and resilient mother to guide him, that he's been able to bounce back.  

She believed in Quentin long before he believed in himself. She knew he was a smart kid. She also saw that athletics came naturally for him and because of that he didn’t have to work as hard as other kids, which hurt him in the classroom.

Every year they used tutors, mentors, advisors and administrators to help Quentin make a breakthrough.

“We tried everything to figure out what would light a fire under him,” Sara recalled.

It was a struggle. Every summer he took classes to become eligible in the fall. Quentin’s grade point average fell south of 2.0. Yet he scored nearly 1100 on his SAT, the standardized college admission test, which made Sara keep pushing him.

The big football programs couldn't take him because of his grades. Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas, became his landing place.

“Once the junior colleges started calling, he began to see that he was being given one more opportunity," his mother said.

Sara never stopped believing in her oldest son. She showed Quentin Moore how to never give up.

A year ago, he had to be at the two-year school by July 6 for football and to sign up for classes. 

Sara packed up their Ford Explorer and she and Quentin and Tate drove the 1,995 miles to Kansas. 

Part 3: Quentin Moore finds a path to Division 1 football.

Comments (2)
No. 1-2

Looking forward to the next addition to this story. Beautiful and inspiring to hear the strength demonstrated throughout this journey for the Moore family