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Samantha is outgoing, bubbly, smart and loves singing. Her dream is to one day play a part in the show Hamilton. She’s always striving to do better and learn something new, which is how she’s become a high-level gymnast. Samantha enjoys spending time with her family more than anything (although sometimes she picks fights with her brother!), especially on vacation in New Hampshire where they go skiing and snowmobiling.
When Samantha was about 2 months old, her parents noticed something odd about her eyes. By the time they had a pediatric opthalmologist look at her, she was sent directly to Boston Children’s Hospital. There, she was diagnosed with retinoblastoma.
A series of tests led Samantha to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund Clinic, where they discussed her options. Her parents made the difficult decision to have her right eye removed. Thankfully, this saved Samantha’s life – had they waited any longer, the cancer would have crawled up her optic nerve and into her brain.
Samantha is her family’s hero because she has always pushed her own limits and found her own strength. Even when others doubt her, she goes out there and shows them that she is no different than anyone with two eyes. In kindergarten, she made a picture book explaining her story. She is full of life and is a pleasure to be with every day.
For those experiencing adversity like her, Samantha has some important words of advice, “If you are struggling, think positive! Find the good things that make you happy. Do what you love and keep in touch with those you love. Never doubt yourself. We believe in every single one of you and you can beat this cancer! It’s just a little bump in the road and you will feel so proud once you overcome it!”
Julie, Samantha’s mom, hopes that one day kids won’t need to worry about going out with cancer and getting sick, especially at this time. It’s one of scariest things to experience. She and her family plan to get involved with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and other organizations to help find a cure and stop children’s cancer!
“Be yourself because everyone else is taken!” – Samantha
Information provided by Samantha and Julie Dalbec, Samantha’s mom
Updated November 2020
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