There are days when a story takes on a whole new level, and the people involved leave a lasting impression. That’s how I felt after meeting 13-year old Samantha Ashburn, an 8th grader who suffered from a rare bone cancer called Osteosarcoma. After 10 months of chemotherapy, and several scars to prove it, her cancer is now in remission. With her mom Tina by her side, we sat and talked in their room at the Renaissance Hotel in Hollywood, as Samantha got ready for prom, styling her newly re-grown short hair.
This prom experience is a dream come true for many patients like Samantha who have dreamed of a glamourous night like this for years, after suffering many emotional and painful years of cancer treatment. Even more exciting, this specially designed prom night was started by the Shiri Foundation, an non-profit organization started by 18-year old Fred Scarf, who lost his teenage friend and prom date, Shiri, to cancer.
The Shiri Foundation flew Samantha and her mom Tina from Sacramento to attend this event at the California Science Center at Exposition Park in Los Angeles. Samantha’s mom was telling me that while she was visiting Osteosarcoma online chatrooms with other parents whose children are living with this rare form of cancer, one of those parents told her to check out Fred’s website – Shiri.org. After doing so, she contacted Fred…and as a result, Samantha’s dreams of going to prom have come true.
Fred Scarf, who started the Shiri Foundation, is an inspiration to many, and after reading his story on how he created this wildly successful non-profit organization, you’ll know why I think the world of him. Honestly, to see the smile on Samantha’s face as she arrived at her prom was an incredible moment. Learn more about the Shiri Foundation and Fred Scarf at shiri.org.
You can also watch my live report on KTLA.com