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Sam Minca

Sam Minca

Age: 17 | Gender: M

In June of 2020 Sam’s world was rocked and life for him and our family will never be the same.

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Sam's Story

Sam was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma in June of 2020. All three of our children are adopted so we didn’t really have any background info as far as family history. For this reason, we have always taught our kids to check themselves for anything that seems out of the ordinary on their bodies. Sam had found a cyst in one of his testicles so we went to a urologist. They said it seemed fine but they would do a follow-up in six months. The day before the 6-month follow-up, Sam came to us and said he felt like there was a second cyst. When we went to the urologist the next day, he immediately sent us to SJMUSC and that’s when the journey started. They removed the testicle during one surgery. They did exploratory surgery to check lymph nodes. He is so thin that they weren’t easy to find. We started chemotherapy and, at one point, my 15-year-old son was down to 80 lbs and on the verge of being hospitalized with a feeding tube. He tried so hard to eat here and there. As a parent, watching your child suffer is sometimes unbearable. When we were two chemo sessions from the end of treatment, the bottom fell out of our world again. Sam went into full kidney and liver failure. He is in the less than 1% of children who get VOD and don’t have a stem cell transplant. Veno-Occlusive Disease (VOD) occurs because the chemotherapy causes damage to liver cells so the veins in the liver become obstructed causing the blood flow from the liver to back up. It begins to shut down the other organs. We spent two weeks in ICU on continual dialysis. If you ask me, I didn’t think my child was going home. It was really bad. If you ask Sam, he will tell you he is pretty sure he died a couple of times while we were there. Just writing about it brings tears to my eyes. The VOD eliminated the option of finishing his chemo regimen, as well. So, while he is in remission, we go more often than most because there is a higher probability of recurrence.

While our older child is in the military, our youngest is only five years old now. She turned four during all of this and for people who don’t realize how cancer affects the other children in the family, they should meet my daughter, Charley. She and her brother are close and she suffered a complete breakdown during all of this. She had to go to a therapist because of PTSD. She would sit in the hallway in front of Sam’s door and talk to him while he was in the hospital. She still cannot deal with being left with a babysitter for fear we won’t come back. We had to do potty training all over again and she was too scared to sleep by herself for almost 2 years. We were also right in the middle of her adoption when all this happened and had to put everything on hold. We became a one-income family which caused a lot of difficulties. This past year, my mom, who lived with us, passed away unexpectedly. This made things even worse on the kids. I just feel like they have been through so much for being so young. It has been hard on all of us but our kids are our priority. We have restarted the adoption proceedings and were hit with having to redo a lot of the reports and such, which is costing even more now. Having help for Christmas would be an absolute blessing for our family.

Sam's Hobbies & Interests

Sam's Wishlist

- Tablet – nothing fancy. - Soccer ball - Longboard for teens - AstroAI mini fridge 4L/6 can - GoSports Slammo Game Set - Tosy LED frisbee

The Minca Family


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