February 25, 2010 – December 2, 2022
Sam was our beautiful boy. He was smart, just a little bit sneaky, funny, and nimble on his feet. Sam loved soccer, and he was a remarkably good magician who got a kick out of wowing his audience (including world-renowned pediatric cancer researchers) with a card trick. He loved animals of all kinds, but particularly his dog Bailey, cheetahs, ermines and blubbery seals.
Our boy loved to travel. He enjoyed visiting family in Maine and Canada and was fortunate to be able to claim a beach in Corfu, a medieval town in France, and a rain forest in Costa Rica as some of his favorite places. Sam loved tacos, sour candy (the more sour the better), and root beer. He would never say no to playing Minecraft. He loved fantasy books, particularly Harry Potter, His Dark Materials, and the Ranger’s Apprentice. He was happy to talk about his interests to anyone who would listen, but he particularly loved long chats with his grandparents. Sam was lucky to have a wonderful group of friends, some life-long and others he developed in the neighborhood, on the soccer field, and in school, including his pack that called themselves the blubber seals.
More than anything, Sam was empathetic and happy to share whatever he had. Sam loved and admired (and was occasionally aggravated by) his older sister. Even when he was so sick and barely able to talk or move, he insisted that whatever treat he got be shared with his sister. He was so brave. And kind. And snuggly.
Sam was curious and interested in so many things. He should have had the chance to grow up, to go to college, to fall in love, to pursue his dreams, and to make a difference in this world.
Gone Too Soon
Just before Thanksgiving in 2021, when Sam was 11, we noticed that one of his eyelids was drooping. Our doctor ordered an MRI, and a few days before Christmas, we received the devastating news that he had a tumor on his brain stem. The diagnosis of DIPG was confirmed by a biopsy in January. Thereafter, Sam went through radiation and enrolled in PNOCC 22 at UCSF, and then in Stanford’s GD2 Car-T study. The clinical trials were hard on Sam and on all of us. But, we wish there were more of them. Sam tried everything there was to try, but no breakthrough came in time to save him. The disease ran its terrible course, and Sam died on December 2, 2022. We are forever heartbroken without him.