Friends remember the inspirational life of Sam Featherstone

NEWBURGH, IN (WFIE) - Keeping his dream alive. That's exactly what friends and classmates of Sam Featherstone are promising to do, to honor the 19-year-old who died Wednesday morning after battling cancer for several years.

So many are inspired by this young man. Sam has battled brain cancer since 2009, but his friends say he did it with a smile.  They say it became his mission to fight cancer and fight for a cure.

The dining room table in Bob Dassel's home is filled with photos and memories of the good years his children spent growing up alongside Sam Featherstone.

"There's Sam on Homecoming night when he was crowned king," Dassel said.

To Dassel, Sam was like part of the family. He was Sam's soccer coach for nine years.

"It's ironic, when you coach kids you feel like you're coaching them, and in the end, I think he's taught me more than I ever taught him," Dassel told 14 News.

Dassel says he watched as Sam not only became a leader on the field, but in life. Since Sam was first diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2009, his friends say he never put the focus on himself, instead he wanted to become a doctor, so he could help others like him.

"When he knew that his dream to become that pediatric oncologist was not to be, he didn't wallow in his sorrow, he thought of, 'what can I do?'" said Mary-Beth Owen, a SamStrong volunteer.

He, along with the help of some volunteers, formed the SamStrong: Search for the Cure campaign to raise money for pediatric cancer research.

"He wants to keep them, prevent them, protect them from having the illness, the cancer that he had received," Lynn Ogle, another SamStrong volunteer, said.

But in the process, he achieved more than just awareness. A life lesson for those who watched and were inspired by a young man who turned his struggle into hope for others.

"He taught us to never take anything for granted," said Lindsey Paris, a Samstrong volunteer.

"I pray to God that my son is just like him because he is one unbelievable child," said Julie Stucki, another volunteer.

Sam helped organize a fundraiser last week in Newburgh.  He was hoping to raise $25,000 to $30,000 to be used for research at St. Jude.  That event ended up raising over $200,000 and that number is still growing.  

14 News has also been told a prayer service will be held Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. in the auditorium at Memorial High School for Sam and his family. All are welcome.

Related Stories:

Copyright 2013 WFIE. All rights reserved.