Our Purpose

To Help Kids with Cancer Live Well

A young boy sitting on a wooden crate in a garden.

Sam was the kind of kid people remembered. He had a spirit that could energize a crowd and engage a room full of people from doctors to preschoolers. As soon as Sam could crawl he was in search of adventure. Always exploring the world, he felt basic rules restricted him from getting the most out of life.

He was a compassionate leader with a creative and absorbent mind, soaking in information about world history and politics while movies like Lord of the Rings gave him deep ideas to ponder.

With a competitive spirit, he loved football at recess and watching NBA basketball at home. If asked what was on his mind, he might have disclosed his latest business scheme or thoughts on how to turn Star Wars into a middle school drama production. Close friends and family have all heard him say, “I want to change the world.”

Diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma at age 9, Sam endured some of the most toxic and outdated chemotherapy that exists. His left leg and part of his right foot were both amputated, but not his pursuit of adventure.

Sam lived with cancer for six years, engaging in life-giving activities in between treatments or whenever the disease was stable. Though the reality of amputation seemed abusive at the time, Sam found his prosthetic leg a useful prop for humor, practical jokes and conversation starters. As an amputee, he engaged with a community of physically challenged athletes and found surfing to be the sport that brought him the biggest thrill.

Ewing Sarcoma took Sam’s life in August 2016 after fighting the disease for six years. 

The world shouldn’t have to lose kids who love life the way Sam did.

The Beginning

A Cancer Research Story

The Sam Day Foundation started with a group of people who loved Sam and were compelled to fight for him, and to change the story for other young people with sarcoma cancers. While Sam was still alive, friends came together and raised over $350,000 for Ewing Sarcoma research through another organization. But Sam was never able to benefit from that research.

With his passing in 2016, his circle of support felt a profound sense of loss and anger about how kids like Sam are treated for cancer. In 2018, we funneled that anger into action and launched the Sam Day Foundation.

What started as a proactive effort to save Sam and other young people battling Ewing Sarcoma, has grown into a strong community of compassionate and generous advocates of all ages. Today, our hope is to generate enough attention and resources to advance the most promising research available, so that one day kids with cancer can survive and live well.

Since the Sam Day Foundation launched in 2018, more than $1.5+ million has been committed to research and multiple projects continue to be vetted for additional funding.

A woman kissing a boy on the cheek in a park.