Here’s one of the most inspiring TED Talks you will ever have the pleasure to watch. It is the fascinating legacy of a boy who was one for the ages. That’s a term used to describe Abraham Lincoln and after you watch today’s video-share, with its happiness secrets, you’ll know why we chose that moniker.
Seventeen-year-old Sam became the spokesman for a genetic condition called Childhood Progeria, also known as “the aging disease,” and it’s aptly renamed indeed.
Without getting deep into specifics, progeria causes people to age rapidly, which is why young Sam looks older than his parents.
Yet… he was cheerful; positive; even jubilant about his life.
Take a look at Sam’s TED Talk, in which he gives us all the secret to true happiness, even when we face adversity.
Yep. We were speechless after this, too.
You may know that on January 10, 2014, having had only a teenager’s helping of life, Sam Berns passed away. But today’s video-share feels as bright and relevant as it ever has.
Maybe we can come out the other side of that knowledge feeling positive and radiant. We do that with every article here at Ever Widening Circles.
Our aim is to be the polar opposite of the negative 24-hour news cycle: here you’ll find story after story on amazing things to be celebrated (just as Sam’s legacy reminds us).
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Sam’s parents are doing their part to prove that with several projects. Sam’s mother, Dr. Leslie Gordon, is working on a team that has discovered the exact gene responsible for Progeria!
Sam’s parents have also expanded his legacy beyond this amazing TED Talk and his happiness secrets. Sam’s philosophy of life is living on through the good work of the foundation his parents created called the Progeria Research Foundation.
Here’s what they have to say on that website:
In the summer of 1998, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns found out that their son Sam, who was then 22 months old, had been diagnosed with Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (“Progeria”), commonly referred to as a “premature aging” syndrome. It quickly became apparent to Sam’s parents that there was an enormous lack of medical information and resources dedicated to Progeria. They recognized that there was no place for these children to go for medical help, no place for parents or doctors to turn for information, and no source of funding for researchers who wanted to do Progeria research. This inspired Sam’s family, together with their friends and colleagues, to launch The Progeria Research Foundation, Inc. (“PRF”), the only non-profit organization in the world dedicated to Progeria research. 2
Good to know!
Here’s a lovely tribute to go out on today that makes Sam seem like he may be right there beside us… just out of reach:
One last thing to consider: Why does Sam’s talk and memory make some of us a bit teary eyed?
Is it just that we know the planet lost one of the wise and joyful ones, or is it that we have some regrets for not living our more fortunate lives with more joy?
When we first shared this video on our original EWC website, my former web developer, Chris Dugan, wrote the following thoughts about this talk:
This TED Talk always makes me feel a sense of empowerment about being able to start anew. Even if I haven’t lived with much gratitude or joy, Sam reminds me that at any moment that I choose I can start. If I get it right for a while and then stumble back to my old ways, I can start again anew. And I can do that over and over again until the day comes when I can walk tall, in Sam’s light, as a matter of habit.
Well said, Chris!
Now, when I watch Sam’s video (and I do from time to time, just as a refresher course) I don’t cry; I walk a little taller and cast a lot more light on the world around me.
Thanks for dropping by Ever Widening Cricles today. Scroll down to the bottom of this page if you’d like to see another article that will put a spring in your step. There are six there to chose from, that I highly recommend!
Stay open, curious and hopeful.
~ Dr. Lynda
- Berns, Sam. “My Philosophy for a Happy Life | Sam Berns | TEDxMidAtlantic.” YouTube. TEDx Talks, 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36m1o-tM05g>. ↩
- “Our Story.” Progeria Research Foundation. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2016. <http://www.progeriaresearch.org/our_story.html>. ↩
- Remembering Sam Berns.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 11 Jan. 2014. Web. 16 Jan. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fekab9Pu2us>. ↩