Sam Berns was a junior at Foxboro High School in Foxboro, Massachusetts, where he had achieved highest honours and was a percussion section leader in the high school marching band. He had achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
17-year-old Sam Berns was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare, rapid aging disease, at the age of 2. He outlived the 13-years expected life expectancy and continued living his life while raising awareness about the disease.
Despite being stricken by a terrible illness, Sam did not let the disease define him, and encouraged others to live with a positive mentality, something he stressed during his talk at the TEDxMidAtlantic conference.
In his TEDx talk, he spoke of his heart’s desire: to play the snare drum with the Foxborough High School marching band. The trouble was that the drum and its harness weighed 40 pounds and Sam barely weighed 50 pounds. Together with his parents and an engineer, they managed to develop a snare drum apparatus weighing only about six pounds, thus fulfilling his ambition of performing and marching with the band.
The main takeaway from the talk is his attitude towards Life despite having to live with such a rare illness
Sam Berns’s Philosophy for a Happy Life:
- Be OK with what you ultimately can’t do, because there is so much you CAN do
- Surround yourself with people you want to be around
- Keep moving forward
- Never miss a party if you can help it
“No matter what I choose to become, I believe that I can change the world.”
“And as I’m striving to change the world, I will be happy.”
He was featured in the documentary Life According to Sam, which premiered on HBO on October 21, 2013.
Tribute to Sam Berns (October 23, 1996 – January 10, 2014)