13 years old
With her bright, winsome smile, Sam makes friends wherever she goes. She's always been an active girl, participating in everything from basketball to volleyball to tumbling and golf. She only ever seemed to slow down when she slept.
In October 2013, Sam broke her leg during a soccer game. Her family assumed that after the leg healed and Sam did physical therapy, she'd be back to her full schedule. But when Sam's leg started to hurt more rather than less, an MRI revealed a tumor, identified as a Ewing sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
Sam’s family turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where her treatment includes chemotherapy and radiation therapy. "We know Sam is getting cutting-edge treatment here," said her mom, Nicole. "We’re really grateful." St. Jude is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90 percent by 2020. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.
Sam's favorite subjects in school are math and social studies. She's served on her student council and performed in the school play. She keeps in touch with her siblings and friends at home through text messages, and loves when they visit her. The road ahead for Sam is challenging, but she’s ready. "She’s a competitor in every sense of the word," Nicole said.
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