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The Inspirational Sam Berns

Updated on December 28, 2017

Sampson Gordon "Sam" Berns

Who was Sam Berns?

First and foremost, Sam Berns was an American teenager and a great human being.

He was born on October 23, 1996 to his parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, who were both pediatricians at the time.

When he was less than two years old, Sam's parents were told that their baby boy had Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (“Progeria”). Progeria is a condition that causes rapid aging and the conditions associated with aging.

His parents knew from their medical training that a person living with progeria will have a significantly shortened lifespan and this, of course, was devastating news for their family.

As Sam grew what became so special about him was his amazing spirit for life and how he rarely let his condition hold him back from enjoying life.

He rarely let the limitations from the disease he lived with stop him from doing things he loved. He wasn't in denial about his condition - he knew he had physical limitations. He had pain too.

Sam knew that he wouldn't be able to do everything everyone else could do, he explained in his documentary how he focuses his energy and attention instead on what he can do and on the things that fulfill him and make him happy.

Sam lived a full and happy life despite being shortened by progeria at the age of 17 on January 10, 2014.

He shared his outlook on life through an HBO show called "Life According to Sam" and numerous other inspirational talks he gave to inspire others to live life to its fullest.

Sam with his loving parents

Scott Berns, Leslie Gordon, and their son, Sam
Scott Berns, Leslie Gordon, and their son, Sam

Sam's Loves

Sam loved his parents, family and friends with a passion and felt very lucky to be surrounded by wonderful uplifting people.

Some of the other things he loved were building with Legos, reading comic books, and being part of the high school marching band. He also loved all Boston sports teams (more about that later).

When he was a young boy he started to dream about becoming an engineer because of his love for building things with Legos. Although he changed his mind about becoming an engineer when he got older, his love for building things continued throughout his life.

Sam was an excellent student and enjoyed learning and helping other students when they got stuck on a problem. He was indeed very smart and intuitive.

Sam was very well liked and had many many good friends who had known him from the time he was a little boy and whom he remained close to throughout his life.

He always said he felt like he hit the lottery in the parent department. His mother and father were devoted parents, and his mother started the research that led to the uncovering of the gene that causes progeria

His mother's research was a huge success in the area of developing a cure for and stopping the progression of progeria which affects about 300 children world wide.

Sam's Message

Although Sam had a life that was shortened by progeria, he inspired so many people with his amazing spirit and zest for living.

One of the things Sam wanted people to know about him was that he didn't spend all his time thinking about progeria and what it was doing to him physically or how it affected his life.

He wanted people to know that although he would at times, of course, not be feeling well or happy, that he didn't wallow in self-pity and that he had a wonderful life.

While he would acknowledge his feelings of sadness, he didn't perpetuate them by letting things get him down for too long.

Instead, he would focus on the things that brought him joy and would always find something to look forward to in the future.

Sam playing the snare drum in the marching band

One of Sam's dreams was to play the snare drum in the high school marching band, and not surprisingly, he achieved his goal!

The snare drum is very heavy so he and his family had to work with the school and other people who were able to design a drum that Sam would be able to carry without falling over from the weight of the instrument.

Marching with the Foxborough High School band was one of Sam's ultimate dreams and because he stayed focused and positive, he was able to play with the band and had an awesome life experience doing it.


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