Woodland resident Samantha Ashburn is celebrating her 16th birthday this Saturday – a birthday that doctors say will be her last.
Friends and strangers from around the world are teaming up to ensure that Ashburn, known fondly as “Sammi,” has the time of her life at her Sweet 16.
Sammi was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, at the age of 12. After a grueling battle with Sammi’s cancer, the Ashburn-Canchola family thought they had beat the disease.
Sammi lived cancer-free for two and a half years. Last year, Sammi’s cancer returned, and this time doctors told her it was terminal.
Sammi’s doctors have told her that this birthday is probably her last – they estimated that the 15-year-old only has a few weeks left to live.
Sammi’s mother, Tina Canchola, has vowed to ensure that this birthday is the best Sweet 16 a girl could imagine.
Canchola is working with board members and volunteers of No Worries Now, a Los Angeles based nonprofit that organizes annual proms for teens with life-threatening illnesses.
Sammi has attended three “Now Proms” and has become the public face of the foundation. She has interviewed on behalf on No Worries Now for multiple media outlets, including CNN and the CBS Early Show.
No Worries Now and Sammi’s friends have teamed up to launch several campaigns for Sammi utilizing social media. The first is a Facebook event called “Postcards for Sammi,” encouraging people from all over the world to send Sammi a note to brighten her day.
More than 500 people have joined the event, and more than 6,000 have been invited to date. The second campaign is asking the public to tweet, “#eminemcallsammi.”
No Worries Now is determined to have Sammi’s favorite music artist, rap icon Eminem, to call Sammi on her birthday.
No Worries Now has launched a Twitter campaign encouraging others to get the word out in order to reach Eminem by Saturday, April 9. The topic has been trending for four days and has been retweeted by musician Sara Bareilles and national nonprofit Do Something.
For more information on how you can help make Sammi’s Sweet 16 a day to remember, visit http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=187360541309429, http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=200495766647605, and www.noworriesnow.org.