At the beginning of April, 2010, when Sam was just 4 months old, he had surgery to remove a lump from his scrotum.

On April 13th he was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma and given a 30% cure rate.

I learned of Sam’s story through friends who frequent one of the boards on the His mother Cassie shared their story and asked for prayers of support. My heart ached for them and the tremendous battle they have ahead of them from the moment I heard of Sam’s diagnosis. I, like so many of you, followed Layla Grace’s battle with Neuroblastoma as she neared the end, and it tore me to pieces to think how unfair it is to lose a baby to cancer.

Sam may have the same form of cancer Layla Grace had, but there is hope for him. So much hope. His parents, family, friends and so many other people are willing to fight for him. Hard. He began chemo treatments on April 27th, and as of Cassie’s latest blog post, he seems to be handling round 2 pretty well.

Can I just say that I can not imagine the strength it takes to face something like this. Having a teething infant is hard, sleepless nights are exhausting, breastfeeding can drain you, but to eclipse all of that with a cancer diagnosis, chemo treatments and hospital admissions? Completely, totally unfair. UNFAIR.

I dissolved into a puddle of tears when I read this post on Cassie’s blog.

I hear people talk about what their kids are doing or what they hope they’ll do or become and I just desperately want him to make it there. Scraped knees, school dances, best friends, hurt feelings, swingsets and playgrounds with big slides, peeing on trees, playing in the dirt… I want him to experience it all.

To make matters worse… yes, worse… they now have to worry about finances and insurance. This is how Cassie explained their situation to me:

In order to take care of Sam I dropped to PRN or “as needed” status with my job, which meant that we were no longer eligible for benefits and starting in June will be paying for Cobra. My husband’s employer does not offer insurance and my husband and I are not eligible for private insurance due to preexisting conditions. At first I entertained the notion that I could still work 3 days a week, but soon realized that wasn’t feasible. We’ve only spent a handful of nights out of the hospital since his diagnosis.

Sam was approved for passport (medicaid.) The reason we would like to keep Cobra coverage for him in addition to the passport is because if for some reason he is dropped from passport and we need to add him back on the cobra plan there is a chance that there will be a waiting period before any preexisting conditions are covered if there is any lapse in coverage. We’re trying to play it as safe as possible. Cobra seems like a lot for us to pay for but is nothing compared to the astronomical amount we would have to pay for just ONE admission without insurance. But if worse comes to worst, my husband and I will just go without insurance.

I don’t know if this is divulging too much, but with my husband’s paycheck we can pay for our mortgage and bills and that’s it. There’s no extra for food or gas or necessities… and there’s really not $1,500 extra for Cobra. Next month our car will be paid off which will help. We are truly just trusting that God will provide and so far he has. 🙂

I reached out to Cassie because I wanted to help. I know I have the platform here to do so and amazing readers and contacts to help make it happen. With all the stress this family is having to deal with, medical bills and groceries should be the LEAST of their worries.

I’ve been working on this for a couple weeks, and I’m so excited to finally announce the #helpSam Fundraiser. Trust me, it’s going to rock. It has to. My goal is to raise at least $1,000 for Sam and his family, but how awesome would it be to blow that out of the water?! I know it’s possible. All the details, everything you need to know about how to make a difference with only $5 is HERE.  Help me #helpSam.

159 thoughts on “Meet Baby Sam”

  1. It’s so hard for me to read stories about moms with sick kids or moms who lost their kids. It makes me cry every time.

    That’s awesome that you’re using your platform to help her. I’ll donate.

  2. Jill, amazing blog about Sam! Thanks so much for all the work you put into this fundraiser, and to the people who donated!

  3. I donated! And as a little side note…when I clicked on the donate button, I just got my login page at Paypal, not a direct link to the donation page…I don’t know if you can fix that or not.

    I hope you raise far more than $1000!

  4. I donated. I know Sam’s story from the EFF board. My heart goes out to that family.
    Thanks for doing this for them.

  5. My heart breaks for them. My 5 year old nephew just finished chemo treatments for and aggressive brain tumor. My thoughts and prayers will be with Sam and his family as they begin their long fight against that ugly beast.

  6. I must be completely blind, but I can’t seem to get to the right area to make sure my donation is going through to Sam. I click the donate button on the other post and it just brings me to my paypal account 🙁 I’m normally pretty computer capable, but today I’m going in circles! 😉

    1. If you click on the ‘Send Money’ tab at the top, then in the box that says ‘to’ put the email address Then put the amount of the donation. Right under that, you can click on the ‘Personal’ tab, and select ‘gift’. I hope that helps!

  7. I donated. I so hope you exceed your goal of $1000. I’m familiar with Sam and Cassie from the EFF board. He is 2 days older than my daughter, and his story breaks my heart. I’m praying that he gets to have those scrapped knees in the future.


  8. I know Sam from the EFF board on the Nest, and I’m continuing to pray for him and his family.

    I donated and tweeted.

  9. I donated through paypal (nateb70) (I selected personal-other, was that the right way?) I also tweeted the contest @txelz. I hope you raise lots of money to help Sam and his family.

    BTW, I am a healthcare attorney and know alot about legal issues around insurance for cancer patients, contact me directly if I can be of assistance. Pro bono, of course.

  10. Jill,

    Do you know if there is a way to send them a package of some items? Like personal care stuff, etc so they don’t have to worry about having to go buy these things? Or grocery gift cards?


  11. I will donate and blog about it. Normally I wouldn’t worry about being entered in the drawings, but there are actually several on there that I would love to give as gifts, so why not. Do we make a separate comment for each $5.00-worth of donation we make? Or just one comment for everything (say, blogging and donating $30)?

    Of course you can’t read this without feeling compassion and concern, so now I’ll be following Sam’s journey. Keep us updated on other ways we can help. Excuse me while I go hug my kids…

    1. Hey, nothing wrong with wanting these prizes, folks! They are so fantastic and these companies were so generous to give. Thank you 🙂

  12. You guys are BLOWING me away! We’ve already passed up $700! Thank you, thank you, thank you so much. I am amazed at your generosity and I know this is going to mean and do so much for Sam and his family.

    And just to clarify, you don’t have to post here that you donated to be entered. I see that from the PayPal end of things, BUT nothing wrong with chiming in and saying you did so. I appreciate the show of support. Just want to make sure you all know that the only thing you have to do to be entered is make the donation. THANK YOU!!

  13. Thanks for putting this together and for allowing me to be a part of it. I cannot imagine ever having to endure what this family is going through and hope that Sam gets the best treatment he needs in order to get better and beat it. I just made donations with both of my Paypal accounts and will continue to spread the word as much as possible.

  14. Thanks for doing this, Jill. Such a great idea.

    I just donated and tweeted – hope it helps to spread the word!

  15. Jill
    I’d like to know about helping w/ grocery cards/diapers etc as well. I’m a part of survival parenting, too, but can’t tell what area they are in. There’s lots we can do!

  16. It’s so difficult to have a sick child and not have control to make everything better. I know too well how that feels. I think it’s absolutely amazing what all you great women are doing for donations. I wish that we were able to help finacially, but I will pray for his health and for his parent’s courage and strength to fight. Our youngest was born with a rare heart disease and wasn’t suppose to live past 5 weeks old. We felt our world crumbling and by miracle her cardiologist found an amazing surgeon who took a high risk and flew in the best heart team and they saved her life on 2-14-08. She is now healthy, we got a second chance and I hope and pray they will too. God Bless!

  17. Thank you Jill for telling us Sam’s story. It is reassuring to give to a cause when you know exactly who/where the money is going. Lots of prayers to the family and blessings to you for putting this together.

  18. Reading these replies and seeing all that everyone is doing just brings tears to my eyes. It is SO amazing.

    Thank you for doing this.

    I wanted to tell everyone donating that you are AMAZING too! Just wow.

  19. Thank you so much for the way you are helping Cassie Alex and Sam. It’s incredible to see the way that people are loving them so much! Such a sweet family that I’ve never met but feel like I know! I definitely have donated and tweeted in addition. MendyGoebel

    Love you guys Cassie!

  20. Cancer is such an awful disease, especially when little ones are involved 🙁

    I donated and will pray for a cure!!!


  21. I know just what you are going through. My 5 year old grandson has gone through the hard road but is recovering from PNET type brain tumor. God bless you and lots to prayers for Sam and your family!
    Debby Ferrara

  22. We donated – and tweeted – but do not want to be a part of the drawing (if thats possible, I understand if its too hard). And we’re praying hard for him.

  23. Thank you so much for taking time to set this up. I followed Layla Grace at the end and felt so helpless. I’ve followed Sam since the beginning and I appreciate this chance to help. Praying for Sam!

  24. Hi Jill; thanks for putting this together! I donated, tweeted, blogged, facebooked and everything else I can do to help!

  25. Thank you for setting this up Jill. Stories like this break my heart. I’ve donated and posted on a link on my Facebook.

  26. Thank you so much for setting this up. I worked with Cassie at Baptist East and use to give Sam love everyday while he was growing in Mommy’s belly. We have been thinking of ways to help and now thanks to you have a way to help. Thank you so much from Cassie’s work friends.

  27. I donated. It’s under my maiden name (Spencer) because I’m too lazy to send my marriage certificate to Paypal and get it changed to Zinser. LOL

  28. donated and linked on my facebook profile! can you update us on how much has been raised for baby sam’s family so far? such a wonderful idea!

  29. Ok sorry. Count that last comment as a tweet and this one as a blog entry. Does that work. Sorry, I’m only 4 years old and can’t follow instructions.

  30. I donated – under my Hub’s name in paypal (in case this post doesn’t match up w/ the donation, hehe).

    Tweeted, too! @MereD19

  31. You are so amazing for putting this all together. Sam is always in my thoughts and prayers as is his family. I can’t imagine going through this as a mother myself. I made a donation and will be sending to other’s to do the same.

  32. Do we know if they have tried to get in to St. Judes, my boss is on one the Boards? St. Judes is the best cancer center in the world for children. Please use my contact email.

  33. I hope Sam’s family reads this because this comment is for them. You MUST get in touch with a friend of mine, Anna O’Connor. Anna is a 24 year old girl who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma when she was 17. She has so far defied every odd against her and has survived for seven years with this disease. She is an amazing, amazing girl who has dedicated her life to helping children like Sam by going through experimental treatment after experimental treatment.

    You can find her at She will encourage you so much!!!!

    I’ll be praying for Sam.

  34. I donated $50 dollars to help Sam!

    Also Tweeted with my account (@Tempestbeauty) and my son’s account (@KnowRonan).

    Love and thoughts and happiness to Sam and family. <3

  35. Oh my word. I cannot imagine what this family is going through. This family is in my prayers….thank goodness they’re getting good care for that beautiful little boy.

    I would really like to share with the family that COBRA assistance is available through the federal stimulus package and they can check it out right here:

    We’ve had to use the COBRA assistance for the past four months since my husband was laid off…it meant our health care bill went from $1500/month to only $270/month. I know that Congress might not continue this program but perhaps if they sign up before the end of May? I wanted to share this information since every little bit helps.

  36. All my love to Baby Sam and his family. Even though I only “met” Cassie during this fundraiser (although I’ve read her posts on The Bump for a while) she’s been incredibly kind and gracious and funny. I’ll admit to only donating and spamming my Twitter feed to death because it feels amazingly good to know I’m doing something positive for a family who deserves it. I’m selfish that way.

  37. Hi… I donated and blogged… apparently I am not as internet savvy as I thought because I can not figure out how to get the trackback to work. But, whatever. It’s out there!

  38. Thanks for doing this! Cassie is a wonderful person and loves her little boy SO much. I don’t know her well–just from work–but I like her a LOT and am happy to help just a little bit.

  39. Thank you for supporting this incredibly worthy cause. My heart goes out. I’ve grabbed your button and will RT your tweet to Ellen in hopes she picks up on this story.

  40. Sam is getting my church donations for the month, as well as my prayers. He is adorable, and I hope he gets better very soon!

  41. I just donated! One of my boys is the same age as Sam and I can’t even begin to imagine what his family is going through. Baby Sam will remain in my thoughts and prayers. May the Lord give Sam the strength he needs to beat this cancer and be with his family during this difficult time.

  42. FINALLY got PayPal to work for me… sorry it took me so long!

    Just donated and tweeted! Thank you so much for setting this up, you really are a guardian angel for this family. I cannot begin to imagine what they’re going through…

  43. This is amazing!! I just donated and posted the link to my Facebook profile. My son was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma at 6 months and has successfully completed treatment. He’s now a beautiful and healthy 15 month old. I understand what this family is going through and I pray for the same outcome for baby Sam and their family.

  44. I donated and tweeted @avidreadingmom

    It is an amazing thing you are doing! I will be praying for that sweet baby and his family.

  45. I donated and I also tweeted and posted on my Facebook account. I’m not really interested in winning any of the prizes. I just wanted to donate. I know what it would mean to me if it were my baby who needed help. Bless baby Sam and I’m praying for him. <3

  46. This family’s story makes me tear up every time. Thank you for restoring my faith that the internet can be used for really great things. I wish I could donate more but hopefully every little bit helps!

  47. 🙂 So very late to the party, but we donated $25 and think you are an awesome woman, Jill. Fight like a big boy, baby Sam! <3

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