Sampson Berns (October 23, 1996 – January 10, 2014) was an American who suffered from progeria and helped raise awareness about the disease.He was the subject of the HBO documentary Life According to Sam.
Sam Berns is a 17 year old highschooler with progeria. The rare disease, which has affected only 350 people worldwide, causes rapid aging, tight skin, and heart disease. A while back Sam was interviewed by NPR, and was asked, “What is the most important thing people should know about you?” His answer? “I have a very happy life.”
Sam says there are three tenants which he follows that help him live a happier and more fulfilling life.
Firstly, be ok with what you ultimately can’t do because there is so much that you can do. But it is possible to put things in the CAN DO category by making adjustments. Sam tells the story of how he very badly wanted to play snare drum with his school marching band. But the drum and rug weighed about 40 lbs, and he only weighed about 50 lbs. He and his parents worked with an engineer to design a custom rig that was only 6 lbs and ended up performing at half time.
Secondly, surround yourself with people you want to be around. Appreciate you family, your friends, and you mentors, as they all can have a very significant impact on your life.
Third, stay in a forward thinking state of mind. Sam says he always tries to have something to look forward to. He doesn’t waste energy feeling bad for himself, he just moves on.
Sam ends his moving, and well spoken talk by adding in a fourth tenant. “Never miss a party.”