This is the true story of a five year old boy named Sammy. Though Sammy is the story’s narrator, it is told through the eyes of his mother and older brother. Sammy had cancer, the disease he succumbed to at age five.
The first part of the story shares insight into the daily life of a typical American family, detailing the goings-on with Sammy, his brother, and his mother. Readers get to know Sammy and his budding personality. Most American boys will recognize the activities of riding Big Wheels, messing with snakes, and sneaking off to forbidden areas. There are some humorous stories here, like the older brother, Gene, accidentally locking Mom out of the house. A neighbor had to bring a ladder, allowing Mom to climb in through the attic to unlock the door.
The second part is entitled Cancer Arrived. Sammy began to be sick—all the time. Sinus infections, inner and middle ear infections, mononucleosis, and upper respiratory disease took over Sammy’s body. Doctors couldn’t pinpoint a cause and medicines didn’t clear things up. A radiologist even misread the x-ray. Because of this, he missed the tumor mass in Sammy’s neck and head. The cancer diagnosis left the family reeling. No parent wants to hear that awful disease pronounced on their child. The battle against Rhabdomyosarcoma became a family fight.
To a young boy, this would be a scary situation to be in. Sammy certainly had those moments. But what we learn from this personal story is the wisdom and courage this boy gained in his all-too-brief time in this world. While cancer is a dark subject, this book is anything but dark. I found in these pages a celebration of a life that is still touching others, even nearly thirty years after his departure. As long as his mother, brother, family, and friends are here in this world, Sammy will be here too.