Sam Berns

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Sam Berns
Sam Berns at TEDx Talks 2013.png
at a 2013 Washington, D.C. venue via TEDx MidAtlantic
Born Sampson Gordon Berns
(1996-10-23)October 23, 1996
Providence, Rhode Island
Died January 10, 2014(2014-01-10) (aged 17)
Foxborough, Massachusetts, U.S.
Cause of death Progeria
Nationality American
Education Foxborough High School
Known for HBO documentary on progeria, spreading progeria awareness
Parent(s) Scott Berns
Leslie Gordon

Sampson Gordon "Sam" Berns (October 23, 1996 – January 10, 2014) was an American teen who had progeria and helped raise awareness about the disease.[1][2] He was the subject of the HBO documentary Life According to Sam, which was first screened in January 2013. He died one year later,[1][3] after appearing in a TEDx Talks video titled "My philosophy for a happy life."[4]

Progeria Research Foundation[edit]

His parents, Scott Berns and Leslie Gordon, both pediatricians, received their son's diagnosis when he was less than two years of age.[5] Roughly a year later, they established the Progeria Research Foundation[6] in an effort to increase awareness of the condition, to promote research into the underlying causes of and possible treatments for the disease, and to offer resources for the support of sufferers and their families.[1][7][8]

Scott Berns and Leslie Gordon, the parents of Sam, at the Peabody Award ceremony.


Boston Bruins[edit]

On November 9, 2013, the Boston Bruins welcomed Berns to drop the ceremonial first puck for a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He helped host Progeria Awareness Night at the TD Garden in Boston, dropping the ceremonial puck, serving as Assistant Equipment Manager for the team, and watching their warmups from the team's bench. Berns and Zdeno Chára, the Bruins captain, had been strong friends since 2006, when Berns attended a Bruins game and met Chára afterwards. Chára had scored in that game and Berns blurted out "You're the hero!". Chára responded: "No, no, you're my hero, our hero."[9][10]

Before the puck dropped on Tuesday, January 14, 2014, the Bruins honored Berns with a moment of silence and a video tribute.[11]

New England Patriots[edit]

Berns was to be an honorary captain when the New England Patriots hosted the Indianapolis Colts in a divisional playoff game on January 11, 2014; however, he died on January 10, the evening before the game.[12][13][14]

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement on the news of the passing of Berns.[15]

TED Talk, Sam Berns[edit]

"My Philosophy for a Happy Life" was recorded in 2013 by Sam Berns at the TEDxMidAtlantic[16] and has been viewed over 30 million times (as of July 2018).[17][18][19]

Life According to Sam[edit]

Life According to Sam is a 2013 documentary film based on the life of Sam Berns and has been shown at film festivals, including Sundance, and it was broadcast on HBO in October. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said it is among 15 documentaries considered for Oscar nominations.[20][21][22]

National Institutes of Health, dedication to Sam Berns[edit]

Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, made a heartfelt statement after the sudden passing of Sam. [23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Fox, Margalit (January 13, 2014). "Sam Berns, 17, Public Face of a Rare Illness, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  2. ^ "The Short, Remarkable Life of Sam Berns Turned Spotlight on Progeria". Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  3. ^ "Sam Berns, Star of Life According to Sam, Dies at Age 17 – Regina Weinreich". The Huffington Post. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Sam Berns (December 13, 2013). "My philosophy for a happy life". YouTube. TEDx Talks. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
  5. ^ "Progeria Research Foundation - Our Story". Progeria Research Foundation. Progeria Research Foundation. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Progeria Research Foundation - Quick Facts". Progeria Research Foundation. Progeria Research Foundation. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  7. ^ Berman, Michele R. (October 16, 2013). "Life According To Sam Berns". MedPage Today. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  8. ^ Titunik, Vera (October 2, 2012). "Revisiting Sam Berns". The New York Times Magazine. Archived from the original on December 29, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  9. ^ "Sam Berns, public face of progeria, to be honored by Bruins". Sporting News. 14 Jan 2014. Retrieved 25 Nov 2014.
  10. ^ "Remembering Sam- Boston Bruins". 14 Jan 2014. Retrieved 25 Nov 2014.
  11. ^ "Remembering Sam".
  12. ^ Steve Buckley. "Robert Kraft: I fell in love with Sam Berns".
  13. ^ "New England Patriots fans dedicate win to teen, Sam Berns, who died of rare aging disease - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online.
  14. ^ "Sam G. Berns's Obituary on New York Times". New York Times. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  15. ^ "Statement from Robert Kraft on the passing of Sam Berns". New England Patriots.
  16. ^ "TEDxMidAtlantic". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  17. ^ TEDx Talks (December 13, 2013). "My philosophy for a happy life - Sam Berns - TEDxMidAtlantic". Retrieved June 29, 2017 – via YouTube.
  18. ^ Fox, Margalit (January 13, 2014). "Sam Berns, 17, Public Face of a Rare Illness, Is Dead". Retrieved June 29, 2017 – via
  19. ^ Henig, Robin Marantz. "The Short, Exuberant Life of Sam Berns". The 6th Floor Blog. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  20. ^ "Life According to Sam". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  21. ^ "Life According to Sam (2013)". Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  22. ^ Robin Marantz Henig (2005-01-30). "Racing With Sam". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  23. ^

External links[edit]