Sam Berns dies at 17

Photo: The Katie Show

By Dana Griffin

FOXBOROUGH, MA- Sam Berns, died Friday night at age 17. He's been living with the rare disease, progeria since he was 2-years-old. The average life span for a person with this fatal disease is 13.

At tonight's Patriot's game, a moment of silence was held for the Foxboro teen who made national headlines for living with the rare, terminal disease.

Back in October, he was featured on ‘Katie' with his parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, both physicians who have worked for years to help find a cure.

Sam was diagnosed when he was about two years old. His parents founded the Progeria Research Foundation in 1999.

Sam attended Foxborough High School. He liked to drum, and his story was also featured in an HBO documentary about the rare disease.

Progeria speeds up the aging process. Most kids with it don't live past the age of 13.

New England Patriot's owner, Robert Kraft recently invited Sam to be an honorary captain at tonight's playoff game.

Kraft was also on ‘Katie' last year and spoke about how Sam inspired him and the team.

“He's inspired me.  It makes you realize how precious every day is, and how no obstacle should stand in your way of what you're dreaming about doing,” said Kraft.

Sam was a huge Patriot's fan. Today Kraft said that he was richer for knowing him and that he was a special young man.

Progeria affects between 200 and 250 children in the world.

Funeral arrangements are being made.

Today, grief counseling was available for students at Foxborough High School.

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