A 28-mile hike is an impressive accomplishment for any athlete or outdoor enthusiast, but for a 15-year-old cancer survivor, the feat was more than just inspiring and unbelievable. Sam’s uphill battle began when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma, a chronic form of cancer that affects the immune system. During her continuous hospital visits and treatments, Sam stayed positive throughout her journey. “We took it day by day,” said her mom.
Sam’s strength, bravery and determination finally paid off when she beat cancer. It was then that she had a new goal in mind: she wanted to participate in the Trailblaze Challenge. The Trailblaze Challenge is an endurance event in which participants hike over 28 miles on the Foothills Trail of North Carolina in one day all to benefit Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina. Sam is a wish kid herself, and recently had her wish granted to go to the set of her favorite TV show. While she was patiently waiting her wish trip, she knew she wanted to make a direct impact on the lives of other children battling critical illnesses, just like the one she recently overcame.
Sam, along with her best friend Megan, took part in the Trailblaze Challenge in 2016. During the hike, Sam would get tired but words of encouragement from Megan and her mom kept her motivated and helped her reach the finish line. After overcoming cancer, Sam knew nothing could stop her. Summing up the whole experience, Sam says, “I think people need to realize your goals are reachable. You can walk farther than you think you can, you can run farther than you think you can; you just have to push yourself.”
By joining the journey and taking part of the Trailblaze Challenge, you can help us grant more wishes to kids with critical illnesses just like Sam. Visit trailblazechallenge.org to get involved and learn more.