Losing Sam was a defining moment in our family’s life. It seems like yesterday he was with us: young, vibrant, and full of life. But we have come to understand life continues even if sometimes it feels as though there is no way it should. The sad reality is Sam’s passing is more than ten years but less than twenty. As with each of the more than ten years, we continue to reflect on the life we cherish and the things we hold dear – like the twenty years we did have with Sam, but we are too often reminded of the painful impact the disease on young people in our communities and their families.
To this day, Sam’s appreciation for each day of his short-yet-full life is a resounding testament to the fragility and beauty of our human experience. We are so grateful to have this legacy to carry with us forever and to motivate our efforts in supporting pediatric cancer research. We cannot express fully our most sincere thank you to those who support our endeavors and to those who continue to cherish Sam’s memory just as much as we do. His life left an impact on our lives that is dwarfed only by the impact of his absence. Your continued support and love for Sam’s life assuages our grief.
Beyond the memory of Sam, our family is continuously heart-broken to hear of the impact the disease that took him from us is having on young people within our community and their families. For what is called a “rare” bone cancer, its mark feels all too common. This feeling motivates us even further to continue our commitment to finding a cure for these young people, who deserve a full life ahead of them. For Sam, we are grateful cancer research gave us four years of remission. As we reflect on the anniversary of Sam’s passing, we send our most heartfelt sympathies to the families that are in the grips of what we felt on this day over ten years ago. Then and now, our work, Sam’s legacy, and the legacy of every child lost to childhood cancer, is not done.
In the past twelve years, your support and our efforts for Sam’s fund within CURE have raised more than $950,000 towards childhood cancer research. Together, our work has funded five Sam Robb fellows who are providing care for children in five different states. Furthermore, we continue to support the Open Arms Program which provides meals for patients and families while in the hospital and are expanding our efforts to support the Partners in Care Counseling Program which provides counseling services to patients and families affected by childhood cancer. We look forward to the coming year with hope and optimism as we seek to surpass our one-million-dollarmark and continue to make in impact on the young people we admire and miss so dearly.
Thank you for your love and support these past twelve years; we hope that you will continue to join us as we battle childhood cancer with committed doctors searching for targeted treatments.
Sam, Annamarie, Liz, Caroline & Katherine
“Larger than Life.” That is how Sam Robb is described by those who knew him. This is fitting not only because of his huge stature, but also because of his gregarious and determined personality. As a sophomore in high school, Sam stood six feet five inches tall and weighed two hundred twenty-five pounds. A natural athlete, his ability in both football and basketball had already piqued some college interest and it was during training that he realized he couldn’t move laterally without pain in his knee.
Assuming this was a sports injury, his family took him to the doctor only to learn that Sam had Osteosarcoma, a childhood bone cancer. Sam tackled treatment just like he would an opponent on the field. When he was finished, he had to step away from his favorite sports but reemerged as a very promising relief pitcher on the baseball diamond. Unfortunately, four years later he noticed that he got winded during exercise and went back to the doctor to find out he had relapsed with a tumor on his lung.
A number of nationally renowned doctors felt the surgery to remove the tumor was life-threatening. Eventually, a brave surgeon agreed with Sam to go for the “long ball” and remove the tumor and a lung. Sam never made it off of the table.
Sam’s fighting spirit didn’t die with him. His family used it to create The Sam Robb Fund.
The Sam Robb Fund does two things equally near and dear to the Robb family. First, the fund supports the Sam Robb Fellow at the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Services of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine. In this way, Sam is able to help train the pediatric oncologists who will serve future cancer patients with the same love and caring attention that he received. His mom, Annamarie, also said that it is special to know they are supporting a young fellow that is about Sam’s age – a potential peer and friend to Sam had he survived. Second, the fund supports CURE’s Open Arms Meal Program. CURE was on the floor serving meals on Sam’s first day of chemo and has been an intricate part of the Robb’s journey ever since.
To fund these goals, Sam’s family has created four events: A golf tournament, a basketball tournament, a color run, and a brewfest. Note the heavy tilt toward sports – a special way to honor Sam’s love of athletic pursuits and his talent. The support and leadership for these events are very organic and grass roots and many of Sam’s friends make it a point to come back annually to participate.
In its ten years, the Sam Robb fund has generated nearly $700,000 to accomplish these goals. CURE is proud to partner with the Robb family to honor Sam’s legacy and work together toward a world free of childhood cancer, where every child can play however they like.
Join us at 9:00am on November 12th as the Centennial High Cross Country Club hosts the first ever Sam Robb Color Run/Walk and festival, with proceeds benefiting The Sam Robb Fund of CURE Childhood Cancer.
And get more information on the upcoming Sam Robb Memorial Basketball Tournament.
Every day, 720 children are diagnosed with cancer. However, that number doesn’t even amount to the many families and supporters affected by childhood cancer on a daily basis. As with any difficulty we may experience in life, it is while facing these challenges that we remember how precious family, love, and other invaluable matters are. While battling bone cancer, Sam Robb lived one moment and day at a time using his strong, inspiring spirit to encourage friends, families and fellow patients affected by cancer to fight this disease head on. Sam’s family shares their life-changing moments experienced with Sam below:
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing moment. Our journey started with Sam’s first diagnosis of bone cancer. A relapse diagnosis is a life-changing moment as well. June is the month we remember when Sam had a chest X-ray to reveal the bone cancer had returned in his lungs. Our focus for this time in June was to consult with doctors to determine surgery, potential treatment options and more.
Sam’s focus was to continue to live life to the fullest – knowing that life had changed. The time between Father’s Day, our last family meal together, and June 25th are reflective times. We have warm memories that bring both a smile and tear: like Sam meeting with a surgeon to discuss high risk procedure one moment, and simultaneously coordinating times to be with friends. He would have liked to invite the surgeon’s P.A. to join him. When Sam was with friends there was no discussion of cancer, surgery or treatments. Sam knew the importance of being in the moment taking one day at a time and he set the tone for everyone.
Life-changing… everyone has these experiences and the way we respond is most important. Sam gave us the example in his final months to focus on the important aspects of life which included faith, family and friends. Sam’s life-changing experiences motivated him to live his life to fullest.
Our life-changing moment was losing Sam in surgery. In our minds, he will be forever young, strong and inspiring. He set an example – to his friends and fellow patients – to fight cancer and make a difference. Sam’s memory has been our inspiration with our efforts for CURE Childhood Cancer. We appreciate the strong circle of friends we have because of Sam. Your support has helped us to raise more than $80,000 this fiscal year-to-date, and our efforts for the past seven years have contributed over $450,000 to CURE. Dr. Johnathan Metts is the third Sam Robb Fellow, and we expanded our support to include the Open Arms family outreach program within CURE. Thank you!
This growing circle of friends has enabled us to turn the loss of Sam into an opportunity to make a difference. Thank you for staying connected with our family and helping us to fight childhood cancer in Sam’s memory.
Sam, Annamarie, Liz, Caroline and Katherine
This Mother’s Day, Annamarie, mother of Sam Robb shares the importance of fellowship and friendship when living out her son’s memory.
Thank you to my fellow Mothers for their friendship to help our family with all our efforts in Sam’s Memory. On this holiday, I can celebrate our blessings, and I am comforted by your camaraderie, as a Mom, Friend and Advocate.
Your support has helped our family raise over $400,000 since the loss of Sam. Our family is comforted to know, Sam’s love of life and his story of fighting childhood cancer live. We are amazed by our ever growing circle of friends who help us with our efforts. Thank you!
We understand the battle families have to undergo when they receive a diagnosis of childhood cancer. The patients and their families need such a broad range of support, which CURE Childhood Cancer works to provide. Thank you for helping our family to supporting CURE’s mission with the Fellowship Program and Open Arms as part of Sam’s Fund.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Annamarie Robb, mother of Sam Robb and founder of CURE Childhood Cancer’s Sam Robb Fund, reflects on her son’s diagnosis in the following letter.
Six years… how life and time moves forward.
Today our family stops to remember Sam. This day is seared into our memory. Surgery provided the only hope for Sam. While the preceding days were intense determining our course of action, Sam focused upon removing the cancer to provide hope. Prior to surgery, Sam concentrated upon savoring the life to be with friends and family. When June 25th arrived, Sam went into surgery valiantly.
The reality for Sam’s personal situation was very limited. As we reflect upon the diagnosis, we understand the challenges of Sam’s relapse. Hope is so important! As a parent confronting your child living a life of cancer, hope is so important to provide the strength and stamina to endure the treatments.
In the six years since Sam’s surgery, we have juxtaposed feelings with our memories of Sam alongside the reality of life’s events moving forward.
After six years, we have to thank our friends who have helped us to perpetuate Sam’s memory, while providing hope for families to support Sam’s Fund within CURE Childhood Cancer. These efforts have underwritten three Sam Robb Fellows at AFLAC Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Services at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory University School of Medicine. Our current fellow is Dr. Jonathan Metts. In addition to the research fellow program, Sam’s Fund supports Open Arms, a program which CURE staff and volunteers provide and serve meals to hospitalized childhood cancer patients and their families.
We miss Sam every day. Thank you for helping our family to perpetuate Sam’s life while we help families confronting childhood cancer now. Sam will not be forgotten!
– The Robb Family
As we reach the conclusion of the week dedicated to honoring the 5 year anniversary of the passing of Sam Robb, we wanted to share with you an interview held with Annamarie Robb, Sam’s mother. In this video Annamarie discusses how CURE Childhood Cancer supported the Robb family, how the Robb family continues to support CURE, and why it is important for CURE to continue to fund childhood cancer research.
For more information on The Sam Robb Fund please click here.