After several months of public speaking, newsletters, personal invitations and phone calls, my granddaughter Sam and her team ROCKED at Cincinnati Walks for Kids on October 20, 2012.
She took her place on the stage at the walk that Saturday in front of 8,000 people. She was introduced by Michael Fisher the CEO of Cincinnati Children’s and after she told the crowd why she walks, she gave her tag that will always follow her… “I am Sam and I am a Survivor.”
As Grandma, and Sam’s partner in Rob’s Kids, Sam and I have some deep rooted conversations regarding her life goals and her goals for the foundation. She wants to save lives. She tells me,“those people on P2West saved me and told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, I could be President.” Now Sam is on a mission to help support the mental health specialists that are responsible for helping kids who are struggling like she did.
Her foundation, Rob’s Kids, had a goal to raise and donate $10,000 to the division of psychiatry at Cincinnati Children’s , and to date the donation is $12,282. How amazing is that? With the help of so many people, we were able to exceed the goal!
I can’t tell you how proud I am to watch Sam grow into such a strong young woman. As I watch her in her everyday life, I am very aware of how close we came to losing her. Twice.
As a family we attend football games and band competitions, concerts and talent shows, church functions and anything else she decides to get into, I am very emotional and I thank our God above for saving Sam and giving her the spirit she has to go forward and speak out. Her message is inspiring for all, but especially for those who struggle every day with depression and PTSD, and the ones, who at times, have contemplated suicide.
Sam directs us in areas where help is needed also. We participated as a team in “Kids Against Hunger” on October 27th. We were part of an assembly of volunteers who packaged food for starving children in the world. We were part of a group that packaged over 101,000 meals on the morning shift alone. Sam said, “Grandma, we are so lucky to be able to do this!” For me it was one of the most rewarding things we have done. Our team has already said they want to do this again next year. We will and we hope to have an even bigger team!
On November 10, 2012, Sam filmed a Public Service Announcement for Suicide Prevention. It was made for TV and hopefully will be on before the end of the year. NorthKey Community Care heard about Sam and her willingness to tell her story. They called me to ask if Sam would be interested. Sam was leaping with joy at the chance. She said “Grandma do you realize how big this is? We can reach thousands!” The members of the film crew at Plum Street Productions, were amazed at how natural Sam is in front of a camera. God gave Sam the passion for public speaking at an early age and now she is even more determined to get in front of the crowd, she has a special story to tell about survivorship. She is an inspiration to all of us.
Now Sam’s focus has shifted to making the Christmas season brighter for the kids who are currently hospitalized at Cincinnati Children’s for psychiatric help. We are collecting and packaging approved, age-appropriate gifts to deliver to the kids who won’t be able to be home for the holidays. Sam wanted to do this last year but time was not on our side, so we made it one of our projects for 2012. We have also had several local groups come forward to help us. It is really exciting to see the passion these people have for the kids in need of love and support.
We are also helping Turfway Park Race Track with their adopted soldier project by collecting Christmas cards to send to the soldiers. We all have left over cards from year to year and we love the opportunity to use them in a meaningful way.
There is a lot in store for Sam, Rob’s Kids and our family in 2013. I love every minute of this adventure we’re on and hope you will keep up with us as we discover where Sam’s determination will take us next.