September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Join us today, September 13, 2009 as CURE Childhood Cancer honors CURE Kid Sam Robb. Join our fight as CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time! Donate to Sam’s Fund.
Sam Robb’s Story:
On June 25, 2007, Sam Robb succumbed to cancer that had returned with a vengeance. Although he is gone from this earth, his spirit and vitality live on in all whom he touched over his very full but very short 20 years.
Whether we live for a short time or live to 100 years, we all aspire to make a difference in some way, and Sam did exactly that. We are honored to share some of the highlights from a life courageously lived and full of accomplishment, enthusiasm and commitment.
Like many boys, Sam was focused on sports – primarily basketball and football. At 6’5″ and 230 lbs. in the 10th grade, Sam was a “Can’t Miss” college prospect starting in the first varsity football game at Blessed Trinity High School in Roswell, GA. As a sophomore, he led the team there to the first varsity victory in school history.
This is where the story begins…
In the fall of 2002, a nagging stress fracture in Sam’s left knee had to be addressed. X-rays were taken and the unthinkable became a reality…the diagnosis of bone cancer.
The medical term is osteosarcoma, which is bone cancer that presents itself in young people during growth spurts. The bad cell says, “I’m taking over,” and within three days, the protocol was set:
• Three months of chemo pre-surgery;
• Limb salvage surgery (versus amputation), which is essentially a knee replacement in a 16 year-old boy.
• More chemo to eradicate the cancer.
Unfortunately, Sam’s response to chemo was poor, with a 50% necrosis (tumor kill) putting him into a high-risk group. His odds for survival dropped from the 75% survival after five years class, to considerably less.
Most normal people would be despondent, angry…Not Sam! After hearing the news that his promising football career was over, he embarked on a new challenge as a baseball pitcher. Although it did not come easy, particularly with a prosthetic knee, he managed to play for a highly competitive East Cobb team, pitching and winning the final game of a world series in Tampa. Although he never would achieve elite athletic status, he loved being part of a team.
After high school graduation, he went on to Young Harris College, where he was a member of the baseball team. He was enrolled at Clemson University for fall 2007, but unfortunately, this would never come to fruition.
Osteosarcoma, when it reoccurs, tends to present in the lungs. In the spring of 2007, Sam began to experience fatigue and discomfort in his lungs. Eventually, he felt compelled to get things checked out. After four and a half years, Sam and his family felt that he had beaten the cancer demon. His previous scans were in the fall of 2006, with no signs of cancer present. In June 2007, a grapefruit sized mass was discovered to have grown and taken over his lungs and chest cavity.
Sam was dying from cancer. A number of nationally renowned doctors felt the surgery to remove the tumor was life-threatening. Eventually, a brave surgeon agreed with Sam to go for the “long ball” and remove the tumor…and a lung.
The weekend before surgery, Sam planned what would prove to be a real fare well tour. He visited UGA, attended Braves’ games and held court in the family’s basement.
He knew the severity of the surgery and he knew his time was limited. Sam never made it off the operating table. The tumor was too difficult to extricate.
In many ways, the outcome was blessed.
Sam never wanted sympathy, nor did he ever act like a sick person. He was good at everything except one thing – being sick.
He is gone but will never be forgotten. In many ways, he was bigger than life. His mantra, “Fightin Till the Last Breath,” lives on in all who knew him.
About September & CURE’S Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time:
September is recognized as National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This September, CURE Childhood Cancer has committed to raising awareness and raising money to help find a cure for childhood cancer in our lifetime and put an end to this terrible disease through a special program CURE’s Kids Conquer Cancer One Day at a Time!
Please help us in our goal of raising $30,000 in the month of September while honoring special CURE kids each day of the month who have been affected by childhood cancer.
For more information, please click here.
About CURE Childhood Cancer:
Founded in 1975, CURE Childhood Cancer is dedicated to conquering childhood cancer through research, education and support of patients and their families. Since its establishment as a grass-roots organization, CURE has focused its efforts on improving the care, quality of life, and survival rate of children with cancer.
The founders, parents and a dedicated pediatric oncologist, joined forces to support laboratory research that would translate into immediate care for children with cancer.
Since that time, CURE has raised millions of dollars to fund cutting edge research at the Aflac Cancer Center Blood Disorders Service at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine.
Through innovative programming, CURE also provides support for stricken families, providing them comfort and support during their time of devastating need.
Donate to Sam’s Fund
Visit us online at www.curechildhoodcancer.org for more information.