The Sam Robb Fund Moves Forward
A Change in focus, but an Unwavering Commitment
Sam Robb lived big. He was described as “larger than life” by those who knew him. As a sophomore in high school, he stood six feet five inches and weighed two hundred twenty-five pounds. He also carried a swagger with his gregarious and outgoing personality.
When he was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, Sam tackled treatment just like he would an opponent on the field. He fought hard and always assumed the best. Unfortunately, four years after he thought he had kicked cancer for good, 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. Never one to give up, Sam created the mantra, “Fightin’ till the last breath.”
A number of nationally renowned doctors felt the surgery to remove the tumor was life-threatening. Refusing to live in fear, Sam sought out several opinions until he found a brave surgeon who agreed to go for the “long ball” and remove the tumor and a lung. Sam never made it off of the table.
Sam may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. His family created The Sam Robb Fund at CURE Childhood Cancer to ensure that his spirit and determination to live, no matter what the cards may hold.
For the first decade of its existence, the Sam Robb Fund supported two things near and dear to the Robb family. First, the fund has supported 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. Second, the fund has supported 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.
In those eleven years, the Sam Robb fund has generated nearly $862,000 to accomplish those goals. In 2018, the Robb family decided it was time to shift their focus slightly. They are still committed to funding the Sam Robb Fellow. Earlier this year, they were excited to introduce Dr. Jenny Shim as the fifth Sam Robb Fellow. But as they immersed themselves in the childhood cancer community, they realized a unique opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and families fighting cancer.
“As we look forward to the upcoming year, we have identified an opportunity to greater support families impacted by childhood cancer,” Sam’s mother, Annamarie said. “CURE’s Partners in Caring Counseling Program aims to address the psychosocial needs that accompany a childhood cancer diagnosis and course of treatment. Through this program, patient families are provided access to counseling services at a minimal cost to the family and are paired with qualified therapists in a geographically accessible area. Numerous studies have highlighted the importance of providing access to resources at the time of diagnosis and throughout treatment as the majority of patients and parents directly benefit from support from a psychosocial provider.”
This critical need is a growing area of service for CURE.
“When a child is diagnosed with cancer, the entire family is diagnosed,” explained Karen Rutherford, who administers the Partners in Caring Counseling Program for CURE. “Navigating all of the uncertainties, the roller-coaster of emotions, and feelings of no control are incredibly hard to process on your own. Even with the support of family and friends, there is often need of skilled professionals to help a family process all the unique concerns that childhood cancer presents to a family. Unfortunately, we continue to see a rise in pediatric cancer diagnosis, so now more than ever, CURE is expanding our network of dedicated and skilled therapists across the state so we can offer this benefit to any family that finds themselves along this journey. CURE realizes how difficult fighting childhood cancer is for a family and we are determined to help provide these families the support they need.”
CURE Childhood Cancer applauds the dedication of the Robb Family and their commitment to work for others in Sam’s memory. We are honored to partner with them in this important fight.
For more information about the Sam Robb Fund or to donate, please click here: