Meet Sam, a National Star student. Donate today to support other young people with disabilities to become happier, more confident and more independent.
My name is Sam. I was born with DiGeorge Syndrome, which means that I’m missing a small part of chromosome 22. I had a cleft palate which needed to be operated on when I was just 13 months old, and I have scoliosis and a weak immune system. Despite this, I loved going to mainstream primary school and tried to face each day positively.
When I was 11 years old, I was diagnosed with a grade 4 pineoblastoma brain tumour. It wasn’t linked to DiGeorge Syndrome – I was just unlucky.
After I had emergency surgery at Bristol Hospital, my recovery was tough. I had chemotherapy and radiotherapy, which made me feel very ill and my mental health suffered. But I had my family to support me. I have been all clear from cancer now for 9 years.
The disease and the treatment left me with huge changes to my body. My spine became even more twisted and stopped growing, and the hair that I lost will never grow back. It was my secondary school which first suggested going to National Star.
Then Covid-19 hit. Being in isolation and having to learn online, I lost some of my independence, and I became very anxious. We realised that National Star would be able to support me in rebuilding my confidence, as well as provide specialist therapies like physiotherapy, hydrotherapy, swimming and fitness.
Since I started at National Star, my social skills and my confidence have become stronger and stronger. I was supported to launch my campaign, which is about changing the blue disability badge. Before I had my brain tumour, me and my family would often be challenged when using disabled parking spaces. I don’t want anyone else to go through what I did. It’s time for a change.
As I’m part-Austrian, the festive season looks a bit different for me and my family. We will celebrate on Christmas Eve with a big meal, sing carols in Austrian and listen out for the bell of Christkindl. I can’t wait.
Thank you for reading about me and my story. Please donate to National Star today so they can support other young people with disabilities like me to become happier, more confident and more independent.
I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Christmas.