From Sam's mom, the founder of With Purpose:
Throughout his life, Sam inspired me to be better. I learned about grace from watching him manage not one, but two rare diseases, one of which took his life. I learned about love from receiving his pure, unwavering affection. I learned about the miracle of life from bringing him into this world and carrying him out.
When Sam died, I did not know if I could continue to "do" With Purpose. To be honest, I could barely manage to "do" the basics of my life. But, again, it was the young people in my life that showed me the way forward. Sam's neighborhood friends planned a Fun Run for With Purpose and his second cousin set up a lemonade stand and made her parents advertise it in their local paper and one of Sam's oldest friends organized a youth music festival. These heroes not only kept our organization running, they helped keep my son's spirit alive.
This is what I read the day hundreds of us gathered to celebrate a tiny human that made our worlds better.
"This tribute was hard to write. What do I say about my heart? What story or memory or prayer or poem could possibly convey the light Sam brought into my life? Everything feels trite. But there are two things about Sam I want you all to know.
Sam was strong. He never complained about his physical limitations. He just did his very best every day to run and jump and climb and play. He rode elephants, drove a four-wheeler better than most adults, jumped on trampolines, and built the biggest forts and the tallest book towers. He protected those he loved from monsters and mean people and Scary Uncle Mike. Even near the end, he protected those of us caring for him. If he would cough or stumble and see the worry in our eyes, he would look at us and say, “I’m ok.” He was nervous being around other children because, “he didn’t want them to get sick.” He was so wise and brave and strong.
The other thing I want to share is Sam was really good at loving me. Every night before bed he would think up a new way of explaining the depth of his love for me. His analogies usually involved trips to space and the tallest buildings and the largest number he could concoct, like 30,60,50 hundred…which is a LOT by the way. He would kiss me a thousand times if I asked him to and he always needed just one more hug and kiss before we would part.
Near the end, when things we’re getting difficult for Sam, I knelt before him and asked, “what can I do to make you happy right now” and he looked me in the eye, surprised I had asked, and said, 'I am happy, Mom.'"