Families

Our Ambassadors Say Goodbye to 2015

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 31, 2015

As we get ready to welcome our new Ambassadors, we checked in one last time with our 2015 Ambassadors to reflect on the past year and how much the St. Baldrick’s community means to them.

St. Baldrick's Foundation 2015 Ambassadors

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Head-Shaving

Bigger Than Our Differences: Rabbi and Imam Bridge Divides to Help Kids With Cancer

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
November 4, 2015

For years, Rabbi Vered Harris and Imam Imad Enchassi have stood together in support of peace, love and respect. Now, they’re working together to help kids with cancer. Last week, as Rabbi Harris fundraised ahead of her shave for St. Baldrick’s, the imam had a surprise for her. Read on to find out more!

Imam Enchassi and Rabbi Harris stand together with other faith leaders at an interfaith meeting

Imam Imad Enchassi, second from left, and Rabbi Vered Harris stand together with attendees at an interfaith prayer service for Syrian refugees.

Rabbi Vered Harris was dumbstruck as she read a text from Imam Imad Enchassi. She had expected the imam to donate to her shave for St. Baldrick’s, but not like this.

Without telling her, Imam Enchassi had spread the word about her shave to members of the Muslim community of Oklahoma City. They rallied to the childhood cancer cause, raising $3,600 for the rabbi’s shave in just a day and a half — filling her entire fundraising goal in one fell swoop.

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Families

10,000 Kisses: Father’s Day Without Sammy

by Michael Sommer
June 19, 2015

As Father’s Day approaches, Ambassador Sam’s dad, Michael, remembers his son and how he inspired him to be the best dad he could be.

Michael, David, and Sam

Michael with his two oldest sons, Sammy (left) and David, in August 2013.

Father’s Day has never been that important to me. I don’t really believe in Hallmark holidays when we should appreciate the people and parents in our lives every day. All I know is I try to be the best father I can be, and some days I succeed and some days I fail.

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Families

Ambassador Sam’s Sister Shaves Her Head for Children With Cancer [VIDEO]

by Yael Sommer
May 28, 2015

On April 1, 2014, a group of rabbis shaved their heads in honor of Sam, who died from childhood cancer at the age of 8. Since then, 36 Rabbis Shave for the Brave have become one of the top fundraising events in St. Baldrick’s history, raising more than $1 million for children’s cancer research. Sam’s sister, Yael, decided to brave the shave herself — twice! She tells her story.

Yael with a photo of her brother Sammy

Yael is raising money to help find cures for kids like Sam. Help Yael reach her $7,200 goal >

My name is Yael Sommer. I am 7 years old. I am a fashionista.

On December 14, 2013, my brother died. His name was Samuel. His favorite movie was “How to Train Your Dragon,” and his favorite animal group was reptiles. I miss him.

My parents shaved their heads because of Sammy. They did it with a lot of their friends, and they did it for kids who have cancer. They raised a lot of money for kids with cancer.

My school was doing a fundraiser for St. Baldrick’s, and some of Sammy’s friends and adults at school decided to shave their heads. My friend Talah and I decided it would be fun to shave our heads, too. We raised a lot of money for the doctors to get medicine for kids with cancer so that they don’t die.

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Families

12 Reasons Why We’re Shaving Our Heads Again

by Yael and Phyllis Sommer
February 25, 2015

Ambassador Sam’s mom and sister are braving the shave for the second time this Sunday. Read their reasons for shaving, then make a donation to support them. If it’s more than what you’ve given before, or if it’s your first time giving, your gift will be matched!

Yael and Phyllis Sommer

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Families

Something Else Sam’s Death Took From Me

by Phyllis Sommer
February 11, 2015

Phyllis, the mother of St. Baldrick’s Ambassador Sam and one of the founders of the 36 Rabbis campaign, shares thoughts on her feelings of helplessness, and hope, since her son’s death.

Sam Sommer

This week I discovered something else that Sam’s death took from me.

It took from me something that is actually very important to me — the ability to feel helpful.

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Kids with Cancer

Meet Sam

by St. Baldrick's Foundation
January 7, 2015

Eight-year-old Sam loved all holidays. But being in treatment for acute myeloid leukemia made it difficult for him to celebrate his favorites — his birthday, Purim, Chanukah, and Halloween.

Ambassador Sam

His parents, Phyllis and Michael, both rabbis, made Sam’s last Chanukah a very special one. Sam had talked about having a fireworks show for his funeral. Instead, they had fireworks to celebrate the Festival of Lights and their vibrant son.

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Do What You Want

One Doctor’s Nature Photographs Give Back to Kids’ Cancer Research

by Erinn Jessop, St. Baldrick's Foundation
December 19, 2014

An avid nature photographer when he’s not practicing medicine, Superman Sam’s doctor is turning his talent for photography into vital dollars for childhood cancer research.

St. Baldrick's Foundation Superman Sam Childhood Cancer

A collection of Dr. Plofsky’s nature shots.

Superman Sam loved the Heller Nature Center in Highland Park, Illinois. He often walked its trails, searching for the perfect leaf. Sam’s family physician, Dr. Matt Plofsky, shared a love of nature with the bright little boy.

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Head-Shaving

TEDx Talk: The 36 Rabbis’ Extraordinary Story

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr
December 18, 2014

Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr recently took to the TEDx stage to tell the 36 Rabbis’ unforgettable story. As the Rabbis near their $1 million goal for childhood cancer research, a generous donor has agreed to match any new and increased gifts to St. Baldrick’s for the 36 Rabbis’ campaign. Make your gift go twice as far for kids with cancer. Make a donation to the 36 Rabbis.

Rabbi Rebecca Schorr TEDx Lehigh River

Rabbi Rebecca Schorr tells the 36 Rabbis’ story from the TEDx stage in Lehigh River, Pennsylvania.

Watch Rebecca’s full TEDx Talk >

More than six dozen rabbis walk into a room and shave their heads.

Don’t worry; this isn’t the start of an ethnic joke. This is a true story of what happened when a group of religious leaders decided that they didn’t want to bury any more kids whose lives could have been saved. It’s a lesson that a seemingly innocuous comment can be the beginning of something amazing. And it is a reminder that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.

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Families

Remembering Superman Sam

by Phyllis Sommer
December 14, 2014

Today we remember Superman Sam, who died from acute myeloid leukemia one year ago. A generous donor has agreed to match any new and increased gifts to the 36 Rabbis campaign, so today, honor Sam with a donation to help fight childhood cancer. His mom, Phyllis, shared these words on this day last year.

Superman Sam Sommer playing on a playground in April 2012

Superman Sam in April 2012, before he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

On Friday morning, Sam woke up with a headache and nausea. He was vomiting a little, and we weren’t quite sure what the dark spots in his vomit were. But I had a terrible feeling.

We were scheduled for a trip to the clinic, and, frankly, we weren’t ready to imagine what it would be like without that trip. Giving up that trip, to me, meant we were ready to admit how very close we were to the end. Giving up that trip wasn’t really an option. Even Sam wanted to go.

So we made the drive. (It’s an hour and 15 minutes.)

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