When Samantha was born 4 weeks premature during the summer of 1997, doctors monitored her blood sugar carefully since her mother was diabetic. Fortunately, everything seemed normal and Samantha grew up a healthy baby.
In April 2000 doctors diagnosed Samantha with diabetes. Unfortunately, this was minor compared to what her parents would learn the following year. In June 2001, Samantha began to complain of pain in her right leg and would have a low-grade fever. Sometimes the pain would become so severe that she could not walk on her right leg, and also seemed lethargic and pale.
After the third incident Samantha's parents took her to her doctor, where he immediately suggested they take her to St. Louis Children's Hospital Emergency Room. There she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) and immediately spent ten days in the hospital receiving blood transfusions and chemotherapy.
Samantha's treatment lasted 130 weeks (nearly three years!) and is now cancer free! While her cancer is gone, she developed a condition known as Perthes' Disease in her right hip as a result of some of her medications. Steroid treatments decreased the blood supply to her thigh bone, causing micro-fractures at the joint with her hip.
Though she has occasional pain and may develop arthritis at a young age, Samantha doesn't let this stop her! Samantha loves reading, spending time with friends, and playing tenor saxophone in her school's marching band.