Meet Sam

Meet Sam

Sam collage

Samantha Jane McCarthy was born March 15, 1998.


When Sam was in the first grade she was diagnosed with Fanconi Anemia. We knew that one day Sam would have to receive a (hopefully) life saving bone marrow transplant. That day came in August, 2008. Sam spent a lot of the next 14 months in and out of the hospital and though she fought to the very end she passed away on October 15, 2009. For the short time that Sam was with us we learned lots of things. Sam taught us how to live and to love and to appreciate the time that we are given.


Sam had an incredibly huge heart. She was always thinking of others and was the kindest, caring young person we have known. She loved her brothers and family more than anything but she was also that way with complete strangers.


To honor Sam’s life and her legacy we have started Sam’s Fans as a way to give back and continue the work and life that Sam would have led. She loved to make people happy and to share with others. One of the things Sam loved was music. During the long and arduous days in the hospital the one thing that brought her joy and peace was music.


With Sam’s Fans, we plan to bring more music therapy to hospitals and some peace to the long days in the hospitals.


Nikki McCarthy, Sam's Mom

We asked people what they remember about Sam. This is what they had to say.

"Her smile, no matter what mood you might be in, she made you smile right along with her!"

"So much to remember about sweet Sam. One of my favorite memories of her, and also one of my saddest because of how much was taken away from her, was when she was able to Skype into her class for what I think may have been an end of the year celebration or graduation. Dan was there with her and I was in the room for quite a bit of it. So many would have been so bitter and angry that they couldn’t be there, but not Sam. We all had tears in our eyes but she was so brave—watching and cheering her classmates on. I was blessed to be a part of Sam and her families journey. She will never be forgotten "

"There are lots of memories I have of her—from that evening when both dads were sitting together holding their baby girls in their arms and talking sports to the way she’d speak so eloquently for a little one and explain what she did that day to finding her and Kyra sitting upstairs at the computer singing every single word of music videos they’d find online to the very last time I saw her stand on the driveway and wave to me. I still remember that time because it felt different, significant. she was such an extraordinary little being with great wisdom and depth and a whole lot of fun! and I remember seeing her in kindergarten one day, how she loved to learn, how she lit up with excitement, and how she’d lead the way for Kyra and the others, especially the boys "

"Her thoughtfulness. One day she told Mandy she wanted spaghetti and meatballs so I made them for her that night. When I saw her next, she wasn’t feeling all that well but the first thing she said to me was “juju, thank you for the spaghetti and meatballs”. With all she had going in her life, she remembered that. What a sweetheart. I will never forget that conversation"

"One year she wanted to be a pirate for Halloween. The costume came in just in time for her to wear it for the Wickliffe costume parade. She was a proud and happy and beautiful little pirate. Fierce in her own way!"

"I loved her spunk and sweetness. Hannah wrote about Sam in a monologue recently... She was her "imaginary" friend for many years after transplant, and they would play together for hours on end. She had to do a reflection on the experiences from her childhood, and it brought an entire audience to tears"

"Sam lives on in my heart and classroom. Just shared her story with my new class, as they were curious about her bench in the garden. She was truly a dear, sweet brave child! Her presence is the biggest feeling I carry with me..kind, caring, loving with a beautiful sense of humor and smile. Two stories stand out, 1 her writing assessment where here topic was her mom as her best friend and 2 looking for her baby brother's lost shoe. I will always carry her with me in my heart
LOVE that girl!"