Sam's Story

Sam Lee was diagnosed with DIPG, a terminal type of brain cancer, when he was just two years old.  In his short life, he taught his parents, the founders of With Purpose, about the reality of unconditional love, the privilege of having the ability to see a problem and make a change, and the path to happiness.  Learn more about how Sam inspired his parents to start With Purpose below.

 
 Erin Benson, founder of With Purpose, with her son, Sam in 2013.

Erin Benson, founder of With Purpose, with her son, Sam in 2013.

 

Imagine.

 

 A world without childhood cancer.

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Our mission is to empower and educate the next generation of childhood cancer advocates.

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Our Team

 
 
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Erin Benson

Founder and Executive Director

Erin holds a B.S. in Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.A. In Communications from the University of Minnesota.  She is a writer, a devoted yogi, and an eternal optimist.  Erin lives in Charleston, SC with her husband, Mike, and her twin daughters Ada and Mae.

"I didn't know how slow progress has been for most types of childhood cancer until my son was diagnosed and we were told there was nothing doctors could do to save him.  I know we can do better.  I intend to make people aware of this problem when they are young so they carry the mission forward and disrupt the current state of affairs in the childhood cancer industry."

 

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Kelly Novak

VP of Resource Development

Kelly graduated from the University of Florida with degrees in History, Spanish, and Nonprofit Organizational Management. She has worked in the nonprofit development field for over ten years. Kelly currently resides in Florida with her husband, Chad, and their golden retriever, Indy. 

"Unfortunately, I've met countless children AND families who struggle with the disease. I've been blown away by the strength I've seen in someone of our smallest patients and truly destroyed after losing a child I came to love. Those children and families are counting on us for help. They deserve to get a chance to live their lives to the fullest OUTSIDE of a hospital room."
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Our Board of Directors

 
 Eric Taubel, Attorney at Gustafson Gluek PLLC  "I am involved with With Purpose because because I find the lack of funding for childhood cancers infuriating and sad."

Eric Taubel, Attorney at Gustafson Gluek PLLC

"I am involved with With Purpose because because I find the lack of funding for childhood cancers infuriating and sad."

 Tegen Oakman, Senior Manager at Target Corp.   "I believe that kids deserve access to better treatments than they get today – and empowering young people to take ownership over this problem is the key to making that happen."

Tegen Oakman, Senior Manager at Target Corp.

"I believe that kids deserve access to better treatments than they get today – and empowering young people to take ownership over this problem is the key to making that happen."

 Michael Lee, Associate Professor at College of Charleston   "Through With Purpose, I have seen amazing examples of youth-led initiatives that capture attention, inspire fascination, attract devoted and innovative advocates, raise money, and rally social networks. Through With Purpose, we can make these local youth movements a national reality."

Michael Lee, Associate Professor at College of Charleston

"Through With Purpose, I have seen amazing examples of youth-led initiatives that capture attention, inspire fascination, attract devoted and innovative advocates, raise money, and rally social networks. Through With Purpose, we can make these local youth movements a national reality."

 Tricia Grady, VP of Tax at Hyatt Hotels Corp.   "I believe with the right resources and support, today’s youth can ultimately cure childhood cancer. I support With Purpose so children like Sam Lee will have access to better cancer treatment options in the future and have a fighting chance."

Tricia Grady, VP of Tax at Hyatt Hotels Corp.

"I believe with the right resources and support, today’s youth can ultimately cure childhood cancer. I support With Purpose so children like Sam Lee will have access to better cancer treatment options in the future and have a fighting chance."

 Cally Prairie, Owner at The Hairetic Salon   "Ultimately, I hope to help in the fight to end childhood cancer so other families don’t have to hear the message that nothing can be done. Children with cancer deserve a fighting chance and we need to change the world so this is a story of the past."

Cally Prairie, Owner at The Hairetic Salon

"Ultimately, I hope to help in the fight to end childhood cancer so other families don’t have to hear the message that nothing can be done. Children with cancer deserve a fighting chance and we need to change the world so this is a story of the past."

 West Herford, President & CEO of On Ideas, Inc.   "I first got involved because of my daughters, Stella and Charlotte. They’re happy and healthy girls. But, if they were ever diagnosed with cancer...one in five kids with cancer don’t survive. I believe that With Purpose will change the future of kids with - and without - cancer."

West Herford, President & CEO of On Ideas, Inc.

"I first got involved because of my daughters, Stella and Charlotte. They’re happy and healthy girls. But, if they were ever diagnosed with cancer...one in five kids with cancer don’t survive. I believe that With Purpose will change the future of kids with - and without - cancer."

 Nicole Root, Speech Language Pathologist at Minneapolis Public Schools   "I came to With Purpose because I am a mom and NO parent should ever have to hear the news that their child has cancer and there are NO viable treatment options. I also want to help educate others about the statistics surrounding childhood cancer treatments and show my son and all other kids out there that they can help in the fight and make a difference!"

Nicole Root, Speech Language Pathologist at Minneapolis Public Schools

"I came to With Purpose because I am a mom and NO parent should ever have to hear the news that their child has cancer and there are NO viable treatment options. I also want to help educate others about the statistics surrounding childhood cancer treatments and show my son and all other kids out there that they can help in the fight and make a difference!"

 Carrie Blair Messal, Associate Professor at College of Charleston   “Until Sam, I didn’t know the dearth of research in childhood cancer. If I didn’t know, others also don’t know. With Purpose gives me a platform to help educate others, especially kids and teenagers, to make a difference. ”

Carrie Blair Messal, Associate Professor at College of Charleston

“Until Sam, I didn’t know the dearth of research in childhood cancer. If I didn’t know, others also don’t know. With Purpose gives me a platform to help educate others, especially kids and teenagers, to make a difference.

 Ernie Grigg, Managing Director, The Carolina Agency   “Too many adults focus on what’s not possible. They close themselves off  before considering the solutions. With Purpose figured out that if you  want to get anything done, you have to mobilize young people. For them,  everything is possible, and I wholeheartedly believe that their energy  and creativity can fight—and beat—childhood cancer.”

Ernie Grigg, Managing Director, The Carolina Agency

“Too many adults focus on what’s not possible. They close themselves off before considering the solutions. With Purpose figured out that if you want to get anything done, you have to mobilize young people. For them, everything is possible, and I wholeheartedly believe that their energy and creativity can fight—and beat—childhood cancer.”

 Leigh Moscowitz, Associate Professor at University of South Carolina   "Being a part of With Purpose since its inception has been the most fulfilling work I’ve done.. Watching my own children, students and communities get passionately engaged in With Purpose has created some of the most inspired moments in my life. They have shown me the power young people have in creating a better world."

Leigh Moscowitz, Associate Professor at University of South Carolina

"Being a part of With Purpose since its inception has been the most fulfilling work I’ve done.. Watching my own children, students and communities get passionately engaged in With Purpose has created some of the most inspired moments in my life. They have shown me the power young people have in creating a better world."

 Rob Rankin, President and CEO at Clarity Coverdale Fury   “There is a quiet passion with this group that is very inspiring. It comes from a belief that young people really can change the world. And in this case they will.”

Rob Rankin, President and CEO at Clarity Coverdale Fury

“There is a quiet passion with this group that is very inspiring. It comes from a belief that young people really can change the world. And in this case they will.”

 Jeremy James, CEO of Dreaming Tree Homes, LLC   "The time that I was lucky enough to spend with Sam has taught me many lessons and the most important one is that I want to be the best father I can be. I choose to lead by example and I want my children to see that 1 person, 1 group can make a difference in the world."

Jeremy James, CEO of Dreaming Tree Homes, LLC

"The time that I was lucky enough to spend with Sam has taught me many lessons and the most important one is that I want to be the best father I can be. I choose to lead by example and I want my children to see that 1 person, 1 group can make a difference in the world."

 Brandon Downs, Manager at Sendero Consulting  “ My wife and niece are both survivors of pediatric cancers and I can’t imagine my life without them. Now my dream is to help leverage the youth of today to give hope to tomorrow in the fight against cancer.”

Brandon Downs, Manager at Sendero Consulting

My wife and niece are both survivors of pediatric cancers and I can’t imagine my life without them. Now my dream is to help leverage the youth of today to give hope to tomorrow in the fight against cancer.”

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