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Keeping the Faith




Submitted by:
April Thatcher

Sam is a 21-year GBM brain cancer survivor with a large family history with this disease. Five consecutive generations on his mother’s side have suffered from a brain tumor. In addition, he has had several relatives on his father’s side pass from brain cancer. 

Sam’s own battle with brain cancer began in 1999 after experiencing migraines, memory loss, and loss of his sense of direction. In August of that year, Sam was rushed to the hospital to find that he had a ruptured aneurysm along with a tennis ball size mass. The next day, the mass was removed, and Sam woke up a few days later. From there, Sam started extensive treatment. 

His first 18 months started with a clinical trial involving high-density neutron radiation to the head. There were 20 individuals in the study, and within 6 months, Sam was the sole survivor. This treatment was followed by two types of chemotherapy administered simultaneously. A third type of therapy followed, in addition to receiving conventional radiation to the lower spine. Sam, additionally, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. SAm even jokes that he now has had cancer in “both brains”. Since then Sam has also been a part of another clinical trial, additional chemotherapy, radiation, spinal taps, MRIs and CT scans. 

Sam has been committed to helping others through his involvement in support groups and sharing his story. He has met and lost many friends throughout his journey. Sam participates in Head for the Cure so that someday no one will have to walk his path.