Warrior Weekly: Sam Berns

Sarah Mitty

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This week, Harry pays tribute to Sam Berns, an inspiring individual and avid sports fan who recently died of Progeria.

Very few of you have probably heard the name Sam Berns. Very few of you could also have made the same difference in this world that Sam did.

Sam Berns was diagnosed with progeria when he was only 22 months old. Progeria is described as the “Benjamin Button disease.” It is a very rare disease that makes one age rapidly, and on average, only one out of every two million children is diagnosed with it. Those with the syndrome rarely live past 13.

Once Sam was diagnosed with Progeria, his parents took action. Sam’s parents, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns, created the Progeria Research Foundation in 1999 to help find a cure for this disease.

“I kind of just want my mom to be done with progeria for her sake, because my mom will keep working forever until progeria is cured,” Burns said in an interview last year with ABC News.

Both Sam and his parents lived every day to the fullest. They knew that even though he only had a short time alive, he was going to make the most of it.

Sam died this past Friday, one day before he was supposed to be made an honorary captain at the Patriots-Colts game. He was 17 years old.

Sam had a major impact on the world of sports. He was born and raised in Foxborough, home of the Patriots. While Berns was a huge Patriots fan, it was the Patriots who became huge fans of his.

“I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him. He was a special young man whose inspirational story and positive outlook on life touched my heart,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement released by the team.

Sam had a powerful impact on me. Sam spoke as part of the Ted Talk series last year, and in his talk he spoke about his philosophy for a happy life.

1. “Be ok with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much you can do.”

2. “Surround yourself with people you want to be around.”

Sam followed his own rules and lived four years past the progeria life expectancy. If you haven’t taken the time, please watch either Sam’s Ted Talk or his HBO documentary, Life According to Sam. It will be a great use of your time.

Rest in peace Sam, the world will miss you and your bravery.