SamJam is about a long journey for a man who wants to give back… and pay ahead.
Sam Oswald underwent spinal fusion surgery when he was four years old. Along with the months of recuperation from the surgery and learning to walk again, Sam also learned of the diagnosis that would follow him throughout his life—neurofibromatosis (NF). A funny-sounding affliction, but a neurological disorder that strikes 1 in every 2,500 people. While you may not have heard of NF, it affects more people than Muscular Dystrophy, Tay-Sachs, and Huntington’s disease combined.
Since that early age, Sam has had two brain tumors, shunt revisions, bone grafting on both legs, knee surgery, dermal tumor removal, and eye surgery. In 2013, Sam completed two surgeries for a rare tumor in his leg, radiation and chemo therapies, and is left with a lower leg that no longer functions. And, three months ago, he had major surgery to remove a tumor in his chest.
Now, at 35 years old, Sam has much he could complain about, but you won’t hear it. Sam continues to lead a very positive life, live independently and is a friend to everyone he meets. The years of treatment and courage would not be apparent to people first meeting Sam.
After all this, Sam thinks it’s time. Time to give back… to thank those that have helped and supported him. He also wants to pay it forward so other patients with NF can get the assistance they need, research can continue and the public can be more aware of this disorder that very well may strike someone you know.
One of Sam’s passions is music of all kinds, but he has a special affinity with progressive bluegrass and excellent acoustic music. In normal years, we have hosted the SamJam Music & Brewfest, featuring 12 hours of progressive bluegrass and acoustic music, good food and drink, and a lot of fun. But life has changed with COVID-19 and a large event is not possible.
Although we will plan for another SamJam festival in 2021, the current need for NF support has not dwindled during COVID-19.
Your donation today will have a direct impact on the lives of those who suffer from NF.
More information about SamJam is available at www.SamJam4NF.com. NF Midwest, who will receive our donation this year, is committed to improving the lives of children, adults, and families impacted by neurofibromatosis. Their continued focus and foundation is on Clinics, Awareness, Research, Education and Support in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Wisconsin, and the eastern half of Missouri. More information is available at www.nfmidwest.org.