Super Sam's family honors his last wish "to help all the kids"

11 months 4 weeks 1 day ago Sunday, May 20 2018 May 20, 2018 Sunday, May 20, 2018 6:47:00 AM CDT May 20, 2018 in News
By: Zara McDowell, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

FULTON - All 6-year-old Sam Santhuff wanted to do was comfort children in the hospital, even though he was there too, fighting his own battle.

Sam's impact is spread throughout the world since his death from cancer. His family carries out his daily wish and prayer, "to help all the kids."

The Super Sam Foundation is known for its "comfort packs."

"When I asked him, 'what made you comfortable, he said his stuffed animals, his soft blankets and his movies," said Sam's mom, Cassie Santhuff. "So we now include all of those items in Comfort Packs."

In a year, the Super Sam Foundation surpassed Sam's wish of sending out 1,000 Comfort Packs. But Sam died before he got to see the first one get sent out.

One of the most important relationships in his life was his sister.

She is making her own mark on the family's efforts to honor his memory.

"Sam's the face of it, but I'm the voice of it," 9-year-old Ava said.

She has started her own foundation, Ava's Avengers" to help young people whose brother or sister battling a disease.

Ava said cancer is a family fight.

"Your brother or sister get most of the attention or sometimes even all of it, so you never really get all of those presents or all of those toys, so sometimes it can feel a little lonelier without your brother or sister," she said.

That's why Ava's Avengers focus on "sibling packs." They are like Comfort Packs and their are different versions for boys and girls.

When Sam was in the hospital, Ava would always have a soft stuffed animal, a journal and pens to keep her busy and, when she was feeling "a little crazy," she always put on her "crazy socks." Sibling packs include those items.

Ava raises the money for her foundation through bake sales and activities at Super Sam events.

"You go for Super Sam Foundation and you stay for Ava's Avengers," she said.

Ava said the effort is bittersweet.

"But the thing that just catches my mind most is that sisters should be able to keep their brothers," she said.

The Santhuff family does not do all of this alone. Everyone involved in the foundation is volunteer.

Nine-year-old Lexi Hux and her family donate their time to create "Blessing Bags" for the moms going through the fight as well, like Ava's sibling packs. They have socks, trail mix and other snacks, some gum, wet wipes, a Super Sam water bottle, tissues, LuLaRoe leggings and pens. 

"The Blessing Bags are sent to hospitals statewide and this is their second year doing this," Cassie Santhuff said.

The Santhuff family stayed at a Ronald McDonald house when Sam was going through treatments. Now, they donate their Comfort Packs to The Ronald McDonald House in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and the one they stayed at in Jacksonville, Florida.

Melanie Dixon, Columbia's Ronald McDonald House community relations coordinator said, "This giving organization and family knows what those families are going through and they want to provide comfort too."

The Super Sam Foundation also focuses on research support and advocacy. 

Members travel and advocate for more research for childhood cancer. The foundation has funded three grants as well. 

Sam's mom shared this story on the foundation's website,

"He asked, 'why do I have cancer?' I replied, 'I don’t know, but we are going to beat it.' He asked 'but not all kids do… why not?' With tears starting, I said 'because the doctors need more money to find the cure, but they are trying super hard.' Sam: 'We can give them my piggy bank, would that be enough?' I explained a little more about government funding and how kids cancer only get 4 percent and how we wanted really badly to make that higher. His answer was simple 'Maybe if we say please.'"  

The website says, "Every decision we make is based on three things: would this make Sam proud, would this glorify God and does this help all the kids? And if it does all three, we are probably going to do it."

Families are able to request packs online at The Super Sam Foundation's website. People who want to donate and volunteer can find information on that page as well.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Orr Street Farmers and Artisans Market is now open every Sunday from 9 a.m. till 1 p.m.... More >>
46 minutes ago Sunday, May 19 2019 May 19, 2019 Sunday, May 19, 2019 1:42:00 PM CDT May 19, 2019 in Continuous News
MOBERLY - A woman was arrested in Moberly Saturday night after a report of a shoplifting at Gordman's department store.... More >>
2 hours ago Sunday, May 19 2019 May 19, 2019 Sunday, May 19, 2019 12:17:00 PM CDT May 19, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Avengers super-fan Jace Aitkens needs a new kidney. His mom, Kayla Aitkens, said it all started when... More >>
6 hours ago Sunday, May 19 2019 May 19, 2019 Sunday, May 19, 2019 7:55:00 AM CDT May 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The 2018-2019 school year is wrapping up for students in Columbia, but they're still learning important skills. ... More >>
8 hours ago Sunday, May 19 2019 May 19, 2019 Sunday, May 19, 2019 6:00:00 AM CDT May 19, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Strong storms pummeled mid-Missouri Saturday evening, leaving lots of damage in their wake. A Facebook User sent... More >>
17 hours ago Saturday, May 18 2019 May 18, 2019 Saturday, May 18, 2019 8:54:00 PM CDT May 18, 2019 in News
KINGDOM CITY - High winds blew a tractor-trailer off the road at the intersection of Highway 54 and I-70 Saturday... More >>
18 hours ago Saturday, May 18 2019 May 18, 2019 Saturday, May 18, 2019 7:48:00 PM CDT May 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - People who suffer from chronic pain can now turn to alternative treatments besides opioids. Dr. Amanda Alcamo... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, May 18 2019 May 18, 2019 Saturday, May 18, 2019 7:00:00 PM CDT May 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Thousands of customers throughout mid-Missouri lost power Saturday, according to the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. The... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, May 18 2019 May 18, 2019 Saturday, May 18, 2019 5:53:00 PM CDT May 18, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Abortion Bill has passed in the House and Senate.  Saturday, mid-Missourians gathered outside of Columbia... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, May 18 2019 May 18, 2019 Saturday, May 18, 2019 2:18:00 PM CDT May 18, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Blues rebounded from a tough Game 3 loss and took Game 4 of the... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 10:45:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in Sports
MONITEAU COUNTY - Three people are in custody after they reportedly tried to run away from law enforcement Friday. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 9:02:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Mizzou Athletics announced the team spaces and offices in it's new south end zone facility will be completed... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 5:53:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
MOBERLY - A day shy of his 95th birthday, a World War II veteran had the early birthday surprise of... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 3:12:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Some Missouri lawmakers say they haven't given up on a bipartisan bill designed to change Missouri’s criminal... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 3:00:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
VERSAILLES - Graduation at Morgan County R-II High School is Saturday, but not all of the senior class will be... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 1:39:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - The Blind Boone Home (10 N Fourth Street) will commemorate John William "Blind" Boone's 155th birthday on Saturday,... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 12:39:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
IONA - The Benton County Sheriff's Office arrested a man suspected of shooting and killing an Iona woman. Around... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 12:10:00 PM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation limiting the number of young children at in-home child-care providers.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 17 2019 May 17, 2019 Friday, May 17, 2019 10:33:00 AM CDT May 17, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 69°
3pm 72°
4pm 73°
5pm 71°
6pm 68°