Published On: Sun, Jan 12th, 2014

Sam Berns, 17, Fan Who Inspired The New England Patriots, Dies On Friday After Battling Progeria Which Causes Premature Aging

Sam Berns was filmed for HBO documentary ‘Life According to Sam’ . He was fan of the Patriot team and befriended with Patriots owner Robert Kraft in the months before he died. 

From left,    Robert Kraft,    Kraft's girlfriend Ricki Lander,    Sam Berns and Berns' parents Dr. Scott Berns and Dr. Leslie Gordon at the premier of 'Life According to Sam'

(L-R) Robert Kraft, Kraft’s girlfriend Ricki Noel Lander, Sam Berns and his parents Dr. Scott Berns and Dr. Leslie Gordon at the premier of ‘Life According to Sam’ / Getty

Progeria is an extremely rare disease that causes premature ageing. Sam Berns, a seventeen year old teenager, was diagnosed with progeria at the age of 22 months and has just died, prematurely, because of it.

His parents, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns, reacted originally to his diagnosis by creating the Progeria Research Foundation in 1999 to find the cause of the disease and a cure. Robert Kraft donates $500, 000 to  To Help Progeria Research. This gesture came about after Kraft was given a preview of a documentary produced by HBO entitled “Life According to Sam.” The documentary describes the life of high school student Sam Berns, who suffers from  Progeria.

Sam Berns, in an interview with ABC last year, said he hoped his mother would one day be able to stop researching the subject. “I kind of just want my mom to be done with Progeria for her sake, because my mom will keep working forever until progeria is cured, ”

Sam Berns was an unofficial mascot for the New England Patriots, died on Friday, just one day before he was about to lead the team into the playoffs as an honorary team captain. The Patriots held a moment of silence to honor their young friend death.  

Robert Kraft, issued a touching statement today :

patriots

 

The New England Patriots won the game on Saturday : For Sam /Getty


“I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him, ” Kraft said. “He was a special young man whose inspirational story and positive outlook on life touched my heart. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to spend time with him and to get to know his incredible family. Together, they positively impacted the lives of people around the world in their quest to find a cure for Progeria. The HBO documentary, ‘Life According to Sam’ shared his incredible story with a national audience. It was so beautifully done. It made you laugh. It also made you cry. Today, it’s the latter for all who knew Sam or learned of his story through that documentary.”

“Earlier this week, I had extended an invitation for Sam to be the Patriots’ honorary captain for tonight’s playoff game. I was looking forward to spending more time with Sam and his family. News of his passing came as a complete surprise. It is another reminder that we can’t take anything for granted. Be sure to give your loved ones hugs and kisses and tell them how much you love them. My heart aches for his parents, Scott and Leslie, his aunt Audrey and the rest of Sam’s extended family. Words cannot express the sadness or the depth of sympathy I feel for them today.”

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