I wrote this about my daugher on the day she passed, May 18, 2021:
My beautiful 18 year old daughter, Samantha, passed away this morning. After fighting cancer for most of her life, her body could not take it anymore. Samantha was the strongest person I know; always fighting and never giving up. She had amazing drive and determination. Due to hospitalizations, chemo and radiation treatments, and more surgeries than I can count, she missed the entire 6th grade and about 2 years of high school in-class instruction (not including Covid). I remember her coming home for the weekend from hospital visits spending hours and hours in her bedroom studying on her own so she would not fall too far behind. She was not only able to keep up, but to excel. She did so well that she was accepted to the number one ranked public university in the country.
This was Samantha’s 1st year studying biology/pre-med at UCLA. She was going to specialize in Oncology. She was planning to do great things and make a difference.
I think she was most proud of her community service work. She received so much support from a number of charities such as Make-A-Wish, Family House / Ronald MacDonald House, Camp Okizu (to name a few) that she felt it important to give back. In between studying and hospital visits, she spent almost 700 hours doing volunteer work helping others in need during her time in high school. Late last year, Samantha chose to spend 6 weeks away from home (missing her last Thanksgiving at home) to be part of a clinical trial at Seattle’s Children Hospital. Since this was a brand new study, she knew the chances that the trial would help her were slim, but she did it anyways knowing that what is learned from the study may help cure kids in the future that have this same or similar diseases.
I think one sentence on her college admissions acceptance letter truly depicted her life, “This offer is being extended to you as a result of your outstanding achievements, both in and out of the classroom, for all the late nights and weekends you devoted to study, and the times you went beyond what was expected of you.” That was my daughter; always doing more than what was expected.