When Sam Loslo was in hospital, recovering from an aneurysm that nearly claimed his life, the nurses referred to him as “Smiling Sam.” Sixteen-year-old Sam is a thoughtful, cheerful young man who has demonstrated incredible courage in the face of adversity.
Diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at McMaster Children’s Hospital in February, 2011, he was placed on an aggressive chemotherapy regimen that was mentally and physically grueling. Sam lost his hair, endured punishing bouts of nausea and vomiting, and missed many weeks of school. Throughout it all, he struggled to maintain a sense of normalcy. “I hated when people at school would ask me about my health,” says Sam. “I just wanted to be a ‘normal’ kid.”
In September, 2011, following months of medical setbacks that included a bout with chicken pox, Sam suddenly developed a piercing pain in his stomach. His mother Trudy rushed him from their home in Brantford to the Emergency Department at McMaster Children’s Hospital where tests revealed that an aneurysm had burst in his abdomen.
Sam was rushed into surgery to stop the bleeding. Thanks to the skills of surgeon Dr. Karen Bailey and other members of the medical team, Sam’s life was saved. He spent 15 days in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, and a further 30 days in the step-down unit.
Sam had his last chemotherapy treatment t in March, 2013. Now in recovery, he has lots to smile about. Sam has been chosen as McMaster Children’s Hospital ambassador to the Champions presented by Walmart program. In October, Sam, his parents and younger brother, Max will join Champions from across North America in Orlando, Florida for a series of meetings and fun-filled activities in Disney World.
In the eyes of parents Trudy and Dan, Sam is every inch a champion. “Sam has conquered this horrible illness with a smile on his face,” they say. “He has certainly had his share of hurdles to overcome, but he has come out of it all with a positive attitude.”
Children’s Miracle Network’s Champions presented by Walmart program honours remarkable children from 14 children’s hospitals across Canada. These children have triumphed despite severe medical challenges. For their courage and perseverance, Champions are selected to act as ambassadors for their local Children’s Miracle Network member hospital.