Remembering the inspiring Sam Berns - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Remembering the inspiring Sam Berns

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By: Alexandra Cowley

acowley@abc6.com

On Tuesday morning, half of Foxboro high school will be at the funeral of Sam Berns. More than 500 students and faculty will remember the 17–year–old with Progeria. He had a positive impact on so many.

If Sam Berns wanted to do something, he made it happen. He never let the physical limitations he faced with Progeria stop him from being happy. Although he's no longer here, he's left behind quite the legacy.

You'd never guess Sam Berns was living with one of the rarest diseases in the world. One that comes with immense physical limitations.

Berns was diagnosed with Progeria at 22 months. It's a fatal disease that speeds up the aging process, most don't live past the age of 13. Sam died Friday, he was 17 .

Steve Massey was Sam's music director.

"I think he's the most inspirational person I've ever known, the impact he had on so many people was incredible actually,"said Massey.

Massey says Sam taught his peers and himself to overachieve.

"The other students were in awe, that despite the challenges that he had, he pretty much overcame them pretty much all," Massey said.

Massey had the pleasure of teaching Sam in band for 2 and a half years, and in that time, he saw someone with everything against him, do everything any other kid could.

"Everyone around him was inspired by that passion, that zest for life, that ability to always see the best in every circumstance," said Massey.

Sam not only touched lives, he changed them.

His parents, both physicians, dedicated their lives to Progeria research. They founded the Progeria Research Foundation and recently discovered the Progeria gene, developing the first drug and trials to slow the aging process.

"That's how the family wishes to honor him," said Debbie Spinelli, Superintendent of Foxboro schools.

Spinelli put school events on hold, so the community can honor Sam.

"I hope the students today are telling their children about him, and everything he stood for, and what we all learned from him," Spinelli said.

"Sam is going to be a lifetime influence on them that they will never forget sam," Massey said.

Sam's band will be playing a special hymn at his funeral Tuesday morning called 'Salvation is Created.' It was one of Sam's favorites.

(C) WLNE-TV 2014

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