In 2003, after surviving cancer twice as a young adult, Samantha Watson recognized there was a significant gap in available support for young adult cancer survivors. In the United States, over 80,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer annually, yet this is an age group that is often overlooked in terms of treatment and support. Beyond the emotional and physical toll cancer takes, young adults, who are very often just starting out on their own, face overwhelming medical bills from treatment, continuing co-pays for follow-up appointments, and limited or negligent savings accounts due to the high cost of care and missed income because of treatment. Young adults are also more likely to put off receiving needed care due to their younger age, lack of employment history, limited savings, and/or limited support from parents. These financial burdens ultimately have a significant impact on quality of life, mental health and stress. Knowing all of this and through her lived experience, Sam took action and created the first of its kind resource for young adult cancer survivors.
During my six month hospitalization, resting and getting sleep was difficult. The infections in my blood made it very rough, I suffered through hives, night shivers and painful sores in my mouth. I shed a lot of tears. The food was terrible. My social worker would sometimes visit and bring me a meal, and I would have half of it, and then save the rest for dinner. My mind was constantly rolling with the stress of the medical expenses from my treatment. I was taking 10-12 pills a day; the pills and constant bloodwork were so expensive!
SAMFund Stands for Surviving and Moving Forward
Two years later, in 2005, the first Surviving and Moving Forward [SAMFund] grants were awarded providing $60,000 in financial assistance to 18 young adult survivors, beginning the ripple effect of care and hope that continues today under Expect Miracles Foundation (EMF). Grants provide assistance with basic living expenses and also provide financial support for family building expenses, one of the most pressing concerns for this age group. SAMFund grants serve as a bridge to help young adult survivors regain their financial footing after expensive cancer treatment and move forward towards their personal, professional and academic goals.
Over 2,400 Grants Awarded Totaling More than $4 million
The price of survival for young adults is significant. EMF’s SAMFund Grants Program is unique in that it is both disease and geographically agnostic, supporting young adult survivors across all types of cancer throughout the United States. With your support, EMF can continue to provide financial assistance to this population for years to come, giving them room to take a breath and regain their independence to get back on the road they were on before cancer.
Please join us in celebrating the impact of SAMFund grants by making a donation to the SAMFund End of Year 2023 Appeal. No amount is too small and your support of this truly unique program helps many young cancer survivors move forward.