I met Sam Featherstone a few days before Christmas. For more than a year, I carried in my briefcase a small book of my family history written by my great-grandmother. My intentions were to drop it by a printer, a friend, to be reprinted for gifts for my sisters and stepfather. Finally, just a few days before Christmas, I ran into his shop without an appointment with my late request. I was met by the printer, Bob, and introduced to a family – Andy, Tammy, Susan, and Sam Featherstone – gathered around a computer proofing a book.
A few days later, my family history book was delivered to my office. Two days after Christmas, our family volunteered at SamStrong: Search for the Cure. My husband and our employees were very involved helping to market and promote the event the 19-year-old Reitz Memorial High School 2012 co-valedictorian with incurable medulloblastoma organized to raise awareness and money for pediatric brain cancer research. Still, I personally had not been involved, nor had I met the Featherstones until that day in Bob’s office.
Not quite a week later, on Jan. 2, Sam passed away. His book, “SamStrong” – the book the family was proofing – is a collection of drawings and poetry he created during his three-year fight with brain cancer. It includes a moving forward by his mother, Tammy. Sam’s speech, delivered at Memorial High School in late November, also is reprinted. Sam’s event, SamStrong: Search for the Cure, raised more than $200,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research. Also, the Sam Featherstone Memorial Scholarship has been established at The Catholic Foundation of Southwestern Indiana, Inc., for a Memorial High School graduating senior who succeeded in high school while overcoming challenges. Sam Featherstone’s light will long shine on our close community. I am grateful to have met him.