17-year-old Sam Berns Dies from Progeria, Moving Millions with his Perspective on Life


17-year-old young boy Sam Berns, an inspirational teen for having an extremely positive outlook towards life, died on Friday evening on January 10. Sam was suffering from Progeria, a rarest of rare genetic disease that accelerates early aging and causes premature death. Progeria attacks one in every 4 million to 8 million children who live an average life of 13 years. At 22 months, he was diagnosed with the disease and his parents, Drs. Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns back in 1999 founded ‘The Progeria Research Foundation’ to better understand the grounds of it and find treatment and cure.

Progeria children also suffer from a loss of body fat and hair as they grow old so rapidly. They are also likely to developing osteoporosis, another ailment where bones become so fragile and are quite likely to fracture. Despite of all obstacles and struggles, he has wonderfully managed to be positive about his life, and let the harshest truth of life ‘that he weighed of 50 pounds or he had limited days in his hand with progeria’ overwhelm him or dishearten him. As a student of Foxborough High School, he joined the marching band, played a specially designed snare drum and attended his school’s homecoming dance. It was his dream that he lived with head high without staring at anybody for sympathy. “The main point is I don’t like wasting my energy feeling bad for myself. Rather I prefer surrounding myself with people I want to be with and enjoy their company and keep moving forward.” Berns once said.

His courage and spirit to live the days left in his life touched the heart of millions and in 2013, HBO Documentaries filmed his story based on his life and his perception and experience of life. In 2013, he shared the philosophy of life and happiness at TEDxMidAtlantic.

Life Lesson:

Sam Berns was a warrior who stole all the joy of life beating the toughest reality – ‘death.’ Sometimes life plays such a gruesome and horrible game which puzzles us on how to react and respond and whom to blame or what to do to live a meaningful life. Death is the destination we can’t escape but we all desire to live a wonderful life and steal some magnificent moments before leaving this WORLD. Now think about a person who is not only convinced of the fact that he is here to die soon ever since he gained conscience about his being and yet he consistently convinces his parents, relatives and friends to accept the fact. He kept emphasizing on living a happy life and finding happiness in obstacles, and struggles.

Circumstances can be unreasonable, insanely wicked or weird but love it anyway, there can be times you find yourself broken, left ignored, betrayed and hurt but live it anyway and let yourself sit in silence and let the sweetness sealed in happiness wrap you. Taste it and experience how it feels.
It’s certain that your temperament or disposition creates anxious circumstances that determine your unhappiness, whereas you can find your happiness anywhere and anytime. Find it.

My philosophy for a happy life: Sam Berns

Photo Courtesy: moveablefest.com

  • joya

    It brought tears to my eyes. He was such a wonderful soul. Rest in peace, Sam!

    • Yes his positive being throughout the struggle overwhelmed me. Hat’s off to his indomitable courage and spirit.

  • he was a great and inspiring person.


    • He was indeed. Life is such an extreme struggle for some people but still they live like the king of the world and luxury for some other people but still they feel something more could have contributed a lot. Love and peace for this great soul.

  • Shan

    For such a young man, he has a very powerful old soul.

  • Sandra

    Rest in Peace you great soul. I am so moved by your philosophy on living a happy life. Last night, I pondered over my own life – regret and guilt made me cry. I have enjoyed all the luxuries life could offer me.. Yet I have complained and hurt the ones who love me the most 🙁

    • Don’t regret for what you did in the past, be happy because you have gained the conscience now and have time to start a new 🙂

    • Tyler

      it is only natural to make hundreds of slight variations of the same mistake until we learn from it completely and never make the same mistake again, so do not think of yourself as unworthy or fatally flawed. even when we complain, it is one more mistake that brings us closer to realizing the fullness of gratitude that we can offer life.

      • Wonderful advice Tyler. “It is one more mistake that brings us closer to realizing the fullness of gratitude that we can offer life.”

  • Teri

    My daughter Kim Golley was happy to know you Sam in band! You will never leave our hearts! We are heart broken! The Foxborough High School band will never be the same without you! Rest in peace!

  • Crissy

    Sam, Thank you for your story! What an inspiring spirit and smart young man. This video has given me much to think about and to appreciate more! May God bless and comfort your amazing family during this sad time and may you rest in peace with our Lord and Savior!!!! Thank you for your bravery and inspiration!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Zorre

    Here we are claiming to be wise just by counting the number of winters we spent. He was a Buddha, a Zen. Rest in Peace!

  • Yuddandi Sivasubramanyam

    very inspiring Vedanta. length of life must not be seen in years, see the message delivered to future generation to live in eternal joy.