In the summer of 2009, as he was going into the third grade, Sam began to experience pain in his right knee. The pain became more intense and was waking Sam up in the middle of the night, and then began to make him limp as he walked. He wasn’t able to run and keep up with his friends anymore. Sam’s parents, Michael and Cindy Bish took him to an Orthopedic doctor on August 10, 2009 to have his leg examined, thinking it was no more than a strain or pulled muscle. The doctor ordered an x-ray and immediately found a mass on his right knee. Within days, Sam was admitted to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio for further scans and testing, as well as a biopsy of his right leg. Results showed the worst, and it was confirmed that Sam had Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. The tests showed that the cancer had already metastasized to the spine, left femur and both lungs as well as the main feeding tumor on his right leg. Chemotherapy was started immediately. Chemo made Sam very sick, and forced him to spend several days each month at the hospital for treatment. In the course of treatments, he had 4 surgeries. On October 30, 2009 his right leg was amputated above the knee to remove the main feeding tumor. Surgery was also performed on his left fibula to remove a portion of that bone, which was also infected with cancer. In the midst of all this, Sam was still receiving chemotherapy. In the early months of 2010, Sam had 3 lung surgeries, of which 2 of them removed a total of 80 cancerous nodules from both lungs. Some of the nodules were as small as a grain of sand, and some as big as a fingertip. Sam had an additional lung surgery to correct some complications that he experienced. When the surgeries were behind him, the Bish family was able to concentrate on getting Sam through the rest of his chemotherapy. They had the Make A Wish trip to look forward to in July 2010 to Disney World. Sam and his family had a terrific time on this very special trip. When they returned home, Sam was admitted for his last inpatient chemo and the end of chemotherapy scans. He was feeling good and the family was hopeful that Sam’s treatments had been working. The results of his scans proved otherwise. The cancer was back, and it came back stronger. Sam’s cancer had several new locations as well as being back in his lungs and left leg. The treatments had not been working, and there was nothing more the doctors could do. His cancer was too advanced, and more surgeries would not be able to remove all the cancer in his body. Michael and Cindy had to make the decision to place their son in Hospice care and have him spend whatever time he had left in the comfort of his own home, with family and friends. Sam went into Hospice care on July 23, 2010, and received his Angel Wings when he passed away, in his own bed surrounded by family and friends on August 20, 2010. Before Sam passed he had his parents and friends make a promise. They promised to help all kids like Sam, bringing them Hope, Support, and Smiles. Sam is now healthy and whole, running on two legs again in his eternal home in Heaven and his story and wish lives on.
You can follow Sam’s story and read about The Sam Bish Foundation that his parents Michael and Cindy Bish have created in his name. The Sam Bish Foundation provides Hope, Support and Smiles to families and children in active treatment for pediatric cancer, as well as raising money for pediatric cancer research and raising awareness. Sam’s story can be found at Caringbridge.org/visit/sambish. You can also find us on Facebook by going to Facebook page http://facebook.com/SamBishFoundation