Samerah, best known as Sam, loves SpongeBob, Princess and the Frog, and McDonald’s.
This loving kiddo has been battling quite a challenging journey, but with the love and support of her family, friends, and community she has been able to overcome so much. At the very young age of 2 months old, Sam was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis. Neurofibromatosis is not an isolated disorder. It causes several different conditions and can lead to the development of tumors on the brain, spine, and the nerves that send signals between the brain and spinal cord.
Soon after her Neurofibromatosis diagnosis, Sam was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 3. For the next couple of years, her loving mom worked tirelessly to support her through her stages of development and that is where mom’s focus stayed until a tumor was found on Sam’s brain stem at the age of 5, and soon after, another was found on her spine as well. After multiple treatments between different care hospitals, Sam and her family were thankfully introduced to Keaton’s earlier this month.
Since being referred to our Program, Sam’s Family Navigator has had the opportunity to connect with Sam’s mom through phone calls and even spent some time with her and Sam in person when delivering our customized Hope Chest to Sam and her older sister. Sam’s Hope Chest came with a personalized snuggle blanket, playdoh and slime for sensory playtime, super cool SpongeBob Legos, and a unique Funko Pop from Princess and the Frog! These items brought so much joy to Sam, and maybe even more to her mom! Her mom was filled with love and joy knowing that Keaton’s put so much thought into making her daughters happy.
After hearing about the amazing effort Sam’s mom has put into her daughter’s education and development, Keaton’s also gifted the family an Aflac Duck, which is an interactive duck for medical play and emotional growth. Mom explained that it can be challenging for Sam to identify and express her emotions and plans to utilize this to help Sam do just that.
Our hearts are full at Keaton’s knowing that we get to make a difference for each and every child that is fighting a brave fight against childhood cancer. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of the journey!