HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Samuel Harmon, the youngest of 4 children, thundered through life with energy and enthusiasm, leaving an impression wherever he went.
In the fall of 2015, Sam was 8 years old and in second grade when he began to complain of extreme backaches. Several visits to the doctor and X-rays yielded no results.
Finally, the pain was almost unbearable, so Sam’s mom, Christie, took him to the local ER, where blood tests revealed leukemia. Sam was immediately taken to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, arriving two days before Christmas.
He would spend almost two months in Memphis before his first visit back home. During that time, further testing revealed that Sam’s cancer was acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common of childhood cancers. However, his leukemia cells carried the Philadelphia Chromosome-positive (Ph+) mutation, common in adult ALL but rare in children.
This meant his leukemia would be harder to treat, require a very high-risk protocol, and have a lower survival rate. Sam endured 9 months of treatment, never complaining. Ultimately, that treatment led to multiple organ failure, and Sam ran ahead to Heaven on September 30, 2016. He was 9 years old.
Sam loved and cared for others and always told others about Jesus. He memorized and recited his “battle verse” Isaiah 41:10:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (NIV).”
His family says he took the words of that verse to heart and even during the fight of his life, he pointed others to Jesus.
The Isaiah 41:10 Foundation hopes to carry on Sam’s passion for Christ while providing encouragement to other families and funding research for a cure. The foundation has published books that contain tales Sam’s father, Tommy, told him.
The foundation was set up to provide copies of these books to children with life-threatening illnesses through the ‘Buy a Book/Give a Book’ campaign. For every book sold, the foundation will donate a book to a sick child. In addition, the non-profit aims to raise funds to help support vital research in the battle against pediatric cancer.
An event to support this mission is coming up September 26, 2020. The 2nd Annual Carnival of Giving is set for 6-9 p.m. at the Athletic Club, located at 3250 Leeman Ferry Road in Huntsville.
Event chairperson and Vice-President of the Isaiah 41:10 Foundation Lacey Dean says they hope the situation in September will allow for an in-person event. However, that will depend on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the case, the carnival cannot take place as planned, the foundation will hold a virtual fundraiser on September 26.