#153…SCIENCE, religion, ETC.: “Sam Dies Naturally at 17”

         Sam Berns

Oct. 23, 1996 — Jan. 10, 2014


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“I didn’t put myself in front of you to have you feel bad for me.”¹

In the HBO broadcast about his life (“Life According to Sam”), Sam went on to say, “I put myself in front of you to let you know… I want you to know me. This is my life, and progeria is part of it. It’s not a major part of it, but it’s part of it.

Sam, a big New England Patriots fan, had been invited by the team’s owner, Robert Kraft, to serve as an honorary captain for the team’s playoff game Saturday night. That was not to be. “I loved Sam Berns and am richer for it,” Kraft said.

Progeria is a severe premature aging disease (estimates of occurrence vary from 1 in 4 million to 1 in 8 million births). Sam, who happened to be the only child of two pediatricians, Dr. Scott Berns and Dr. Leslie Gordon, had his disease detected at 22 months of age.

His life, documented by the NY Times and elsewhere, included, at 50 lb., becoming an Eagle scout, playing the snare drum in the high school band, and enjoying math and science.

Lifespans. We’ve mentioned several long ones. (My own mother lived to to be 100.)

Sometimes they’re much shorter–for natural or unnatural reasons. Thinking about lifespans raises all kind of questions.

Which is normal and–often–very good.


¹ Quotes are from John Bacon’s article in USA Today, which appeared in the Jan. 13, 2014, Florida Today. Other details were gleaned from the Internet.

Author: John Knapp