Saturday, October 29, 2011

My second second birthday

Today is my second second birthday. Two years ago today I was diagnosed with brain cancer and my life was changed forever.
Two years ago I didn't know what would happen next but, I knew that I was going to beat cancer with a positive attitude
Last year I was bald, using a walker to get around and did not expect to graduate on time
This year I have a headful of hair, am walking with hardly any pain, and working on college applications because I will be graduating in June.
It really is incredible how much can change in a year.
Last week I was in New Orleans with the Sunshine Kids on the "Haunted Halloween Getaway" trip. I had such a great time and met so many wonderful people.
We did so much in three days! A carriage tour of the French Quarter, shopping in the French Market, Swamp Tour, Bowling Party, Cemetery tour, the Mortuary haunted house and Mardi Gras World (they build mardi gras Floats.) In between all that, we ate... a lot. The whole experience was fantastic! New Orleans is so different than anywhere I have ever been and I would definetely like to visit again.
Other than that, life has been pretty busy. School, physical therapy, practicing driving, college apps. I can't believe it's almost November!
Time has a funny way of moving fast without anyone even noticing.
Mischief Managed,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

1 Year Later...Cancer Free

Sorry for the long gap between posts, it has just been really busy around here since school started. I still have physical therapy for my leg twice a week and have been progressing very well. For the past few weeks I have been walking with the boot and I will begin transitioning to a shoe this week. I also have driver’s ed twice a week and we try to practice driving any chance we get. Although I started as a very nervous driver, I am feeling much more comfortable behind the wheel.

Last Sunday, September 25, we participated in the 3rd annual Run of Hope. My team, Sammy’s Blobslayers, raised $3,857 this year. There were over 2,000 people at the event and over $200,000 will be going to the Olson Lab for pediatric brain tumor research. This year I was able to participate in the 3k walk. Sammy’s Blobslayers’ “turtle patrol” made it in 1 hour and 20 minutes and had a good time every step of the way. Next year I am hoping to get in under an hour. I had such a wonderful time at this year’s race. Thank you so much to my teammates and everyone who supported my team. You guys rock!

This past Wednesday I was at Children’s for my 1 year post treatment MRI. My scan was clean, nothing but a brain in there. Yay for 1 year cancer free!!! Sometimes treatment feels so long ago while other times it feels like it was yesterday. I can’t believe the difference a year makes. This year I am getting around so much better, I have eyebrows and hair, and I don’t feel tired all the time. It is nice to visit the hospital and leave rather than be visited in the hospital. My visits are more social than serious, which is a welcome change.

Friday was my final high school homecoming game. While our team lost really bad I still had a great time hanging out with my friends and dancing to the pep band. Megan and I took our annual picture, this year’s addition…eyebrows.
I am really excited for this school year. It's gonna be a great one!
Mischief Managed,
Sammy Loch

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Review

I can’t believe it, summer is almost over. There are only 3 ½ weeks left until school starts.

The surgery on my foot was 100% successful. It went even better than my doctor expected, he was able to completely re-align my heal and repair all damage done by the extra bone. I am very pleased with this result and hope that it means recovery will be easier, faster, and less painful. This Thursday I go to the doctor for x-rays and he should clear me to start walking with a walking boot. I can’t wait to get moving again!

While I’ve been healing, Will has been growing. He has more than doubled his size since we brought him home. Will has to be the calmest puppy ever and he loves to meet new people. Polly and him love to play and wrestle with each other. Polly definitely seems to be happier having a friend around, even if he can be an annoying little brother sometimes

While I’ve been sitting with my foot up, I have completed the English credit I need to graduate, finished eight books and am reading two more right now. Although it’s been a pretty laid back summer, we have gotten out a few times.

We saw the final Harry Potter film the weekend it opened and I was surprised how much emotion it evoked. Harry has been a constant part of my life since elementary school. There has always been a new book or movie to look forward to, but that’s all over now. Even though there won’t be any more Potter-related releases to remind us, Harry will still live in our hearts forever.

In July I helped coordinate a Sunshine Kids event here in Seattle. Aladdin: The Stage Musical premiered at the 5th Avenue theater and the Sunshine Kids took ten patients from Seattle Children’s hospital to see the show. I can’t remember how long I have been waiting for Aladdin to be adapted for the stage. The show surpassed all my dreams, it was very well cast and outrageously funny. Before the show, the kids were very shy and quiet. Afterwards, they were smiling from ear to ear and radiating joy. The cast was kind enough to stay after the performance for a meet and greet with the kids. I actually met the man who played the Genie when I met the cast of Memphis in New York., it was very nice to see him again. I have said it before and I’ll say in again, the Sunshine Kids Foundation is a smile factory. They coordinate events that allow young cancer patients to forget about cancer and simply have fun. Thank you very much to the Sunshine Kids and the fabulous 5th Avenue theater.

By the end of July, Seattle’s weather finally got the message that it was summertime. After weeks of overcast and cool temperatures, the sun finally broke out for multiple days in a row. This was a very fortunate event because my friend Pattie’s daughter was getting married on the 29th. Her wedding was absolutely gorgeous and I had a wonderful time. I even danced a little while balancing on my scooter. Congratulations Kat & Dan, may you have a very happy life together!!!

This summer, my friend Keyah has undergone extensive chemo and radiation treatments and her cancer is now in remission. Woo hoo!!! That means that she can move on to a stem cell transplant, which should stop the cancer from ever coming back. Please continue to pray that Keyah’s transplant goes well and cancer never returns.

I hope you’re all having a fantastic summer.

Mischief Managed,

Goal: $5,000
Amount Raised to date: $1,370
To support my team “Sammy’s Blobslayers” Visit:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Run of Hope 2011!!!

Hi -

Just a reminder, there is only 2 more months until the
Run of Hope on Sunday September 25th.
I am participating in the Run of Hope to raise funds to support Pediatric Brain Tumor Research.

My goal is for my team to raise $5,000.00, so far I have raised $320.

You can support me by donating to my team and/or participating in a 5K Run or a 3K Walk on Sunday September 25th.

To join my team visit:
-select the orange JOIN NOW button on the right side of the page

If you cannot participate in the Run, but would like to support my team with a donation please click on the link below to access my fundraising page.
To donate to my team visit:

-click the green DONATE button

Fundraising for this cause is very important to me. The doctors involved in this research are some of those who saved my life. But there is still more work to be done. Your participation either by raising funds or by donating to my team will truly make a difference in another child's life.

Feel free to share this information with anyone you know who would like to participate.

Thank you so much for your continued support.

Mischief Managed,

Sammy Loch

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Introducing...Our (furry) Bundle of Joy

Today was a wonderful day. Not only was it our last day of school, we also brought home our 8 week old golden retriever puppy, Will. Brandon didn't know that we were bringing him home today, he thought we were just visiting, so he was very surprised and very happy. That is a boy in deep puppy love. I have never seen him so happy before.
Our biggest worry about bringing Will home was how our other dog, Polly, would react. I had faith she's do fine, but there was a little part of me that worried anyway. Just like I thought she would, she did great! To be honest, she hardly notices him. That is unless he is crying, then she runs over to check him out and see what's happening. She doesn't bark or snip at him, she just looks at him before going back to whatever she was doing before he cried. I am so relieved that Will's homecoming went so well.
Now it is up to Brandon to potty train him (it is "his dog") because I will be having surgery on my left foot to remove an extra bone, repair some tendons, and re-align my heel that has been slipping out to the left because my muscles that were damaged by the infection I had last year are not strong enough to hold up the heel. All of these things have cause me tremendous pain over the last several months and I am overjoyed to be getting them fixed. I will not be able to walk on my foot for 6-8 weeks, so I will be getting around on a knee scooter.
All the time off my feet will be perfect for me to work on my summer school English class. This is the class I have to take in order to graduate on time. It is really convenient because it is all online.
Other than that I plan on doing a lot of reading this summer. My "To-Read" stack has gotten pretty tall.
Have a great summer everyone!
Mischief Managed,

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Calling on Sunshine

Once again I must ask you for prayers for a friend. Today I found out that my friend Keyah, another Sunshine Kids spokeskid, after many cancer free months, has had a recurrence of Hodgkins Lymphoma. Keyah is a vibrant young college student who is just a joy to be around. Her family and mine really clicked when we were in San Diego. By the end of the convention, Brandon was like her surrogate brother because he is so similar to her actual brother Tre. We don't know many details yet, I just ask that you please add her to your prayers and send good thoughts to South Carolina.

I will post an update about me soon.
Mischief Managed,

Friday, May 20, 2011


I am in shock. I still can not believe it. This afternoon I was surprised to get the news that my friend, Katie Lynch has passed away.
She was such a special girl. I only knew her for three months but, she has changed my life forever. During and post treatment I was searching for someone. Someone who knew what I had been through. Someone who felt what I felt. Someone who was like me. Someone I could talk to. Someone who really understood. Katie was that someone. She radiated her warmth and light all the way from Indianapolis to rainy Seattle.
Though I am devastated by her death I know Katie is in a better place where words like "cancer" don't exist.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sunshine For A Friend...

Earlier this year I was honored to be named one of the 2011 National Spokeskids for Sunshine Kids. There are five of us who are representing the Sunshine Kids this year, four of us got to meet at the convention in San Diego. The other girl representing the foundation this year is a beautiful mid-western girl named Katie Lynch. We became fast friends and continue to communicate on a daily basis. Katie's fight with cancer is not yet over. Although she has been cancer free since November she is facing one more difficult round of treatment to ensure that her cancer never returns. On Thursday, Katie will be entering the hospital to undergo her second stem cell transplant. The first transplant which she received from her own cells did not finish the job and she suffered a relapse. This time she is receiving donor cells which are a ten point match. This is her best chance to stop lymphoma from reoccurring. She will be in the hospital at least five weeks because this is one of the harshest treatments out there. Her entire immune system will be wiped out prior to receiving the donor cells. She'll remain in the hospital until her immune system recovers.

Katie is a spunky, out going, fun 17 year old girl. I was with her for just three days in March and by the end it felt like we had been friends for years. She has a beautiful smile and infectious personality. Katie was recently voted prom queen at her high school and danced the night away with all of her friends. Last she week got to travel to L.A. with the Sunshine Kids and spent a few days having fun in the sun before her transplant. This special young lady has touched my heart and has been the friend I was searching for while I was in treatment, someone who understood what it felt like to be me. Katie is one of the strongest people I know but, she can't do this alone. Please send her your prayers and good thoughts in the coming weeks.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

Mischief Managed,

Monday, April 11, 2011

When You Wish Upon A Star...

This is my third day home and I still can’t believe everything that happened on my wish trip to New York. My family and I had a glorious time. We arrived Sunday night and got settled in before our non-stop week started the next morning.

On Monday, our first full day in the city, we took the subway (the 4 train from Grand Central- 42nd to Bowling Green) to the ferry that would take us to Liberty Island. It was pretty chilly by the water and, once again, I was so glad we got snowed out in December. It would have been miserable. Anyway, we took the ferry to see Lady Liberty (Fun fact here, her name is actually Liberty Enlightening the World.) and on the 15 minute ride over I tried to imagine what it would be like to see her after weeks cramped on a boat with hundreds of other people. I couldn’t fathom the elation that sight would bring. She was beautiful. After circling the entire statue we hopped on the ferry again and headed to Ellis Island. (Apparently it is a common misconception that the statue is actually on Ellis Island.) The greatest thing about Ellis Island is the database of all the people who passed through there. We found who we think to be both of my Dad’s grandfathers. When we got back to the hotel we got a call from Make A Wish asking if we would like to go to Tuesday night’s Yankees game that tickets had just been donated. Of course I said “yes.”

I decided to take it easy on Tuesday because it was the day before my wish and my leg was already pretty tired from all the walking we did on Monday. I chose to visit the Strand Bookstore, which I had planned to visit at some point on the trip. The four story used bookstore is home to 18 miles of books, otherwise known as, my personal heaven. What makes the Strand even more special is that the third floor is devoted entirely to rare books. When the elevator doors opened I was overwhelmed by one of my favorite smells in the entire world, old books. Mmmm. Not nasty moldering discarded old books, but meticulously cared for preserved old books. Mmmm-mmmm-mmmm. Brandon was very excited to find a copy of the Odyssey from the 1500’s. It was a bit out of his price range at $600 though. After lunch we went back to the hotel to rest. That night we took the 4 train again, this time in the other direction, to Yankees Stadium. We were expecting just normal seats. Nope our tickets were for the Legend’s Suite (if you’re from Seattle they are equivalent to the Diamond Club at Safeco Field.) We were in the very first row behind home plate. Now that is the way to watch baseball let me tell you.

Finally, the big day came. I could hardly believe it; I had been waiting so long. A limo picked us up at 11:45 and took us to the Minskoff theater. I went in the stage door and met with one of the stage managers, who took me backstage. That’s right I said ONE of the stage managers. It takes FIVE to keep the Lion King running smoothly. One calls the show, one stays in the stage manager’s office to iron out any wrinkles that pop up during a performance, one works on stage left, one works stage right and one works the “basement.” I got to shadow the basement stage manager. I have to tell you when I first heard my assignment I was a bit disappointed thinking that I’d be sitting under the stage for the entire show. Man was I wrong. The basement stage manager does what I like to do when working on a show, runs around and makes sure everyone and everything are where they are supposed to be. The basement stage manager also calls when the elevators used to bring actors up or down through the stage are clear to go. (I got to wear a headset and got to call clear a couple times.) We were on the move for the entire show and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Once again I was very happy that my trip was delayed, I wouldn’t have been able to do that in December. Anyone who has seen this show know how spectacular it is, the backstage is at least ten times more spectacular than what you see onstage. It was hard to know where to look, there was so much crammed into the relatively small wing space. Every inch of the wings are used as well as every inch of air space. When puppets and set pieces are not being used they are flown up to make room on the stage level. I have seen many professional shows at the theaters in Seattle and have always wondered how they made the set pieces glide across the stage without someone pushing them. Now I know there are tracks in the stage floor that set pieces are hooked to and someone pushes a button that makes them move. I can’t tell you how long I have wondered how that works. Though it may seem utterly chaotic backstage at times, this show is anything but. It is a precisely choreographed awe-inspiring dance. Everybody, crew and cast alike, was so nice and made me feel so welcomed. The people of the theater are what drew me in and kept me coming. The caring, sarcastic, passionate, loving, welcoming, beautiful people that I fell in love with in Everett, Washington are part of a special community that from Colby Avenue, Everett to Broadway, New York bring joy and love to the world and make this girl feel at home.

I think I woke up Thursday morning with the same smile on my face that I fell asleep with. That morning we were scheduled to go on the NBC studio tour. We had planned on getting there in time to be a part of the Today show crowd to show off the neon “Thank You Make A Wish” sign that I had made, but we didn’t make it. (We decided sleep was much more important.) The tour was really good. The studios are much smaller than they appear, especially the ones for Nightly News and SNL. After the tour we walked around Rockefeller center and had lunch. When lunch was finished we took a cab to Strawberry Fields in Central Park. The teardrop-shaped area is designated as a quiet zone in memory of John Lennon. Being the Beatles fan that I am, I could not leave New York without seeing it. There is a peace and serenity to Strawberry Fields that I am sure can’t be found anywhere else in the bustling metropolis. I still have trouble believing what happened Thursday night. To understand my disbelief you have to go back to Sunday morning at the airport in Seattle. We were waiting for the plane telling the Alaska Airlines Make A Wish representatives about my wish. There was a gentleman to the right of us listening to what I was saying. He started asking me some questions and then told us that he was one of the producers of Memphis, which won the 2010 Tony for best musical. (The show debuted in Seattle and I really wanted to see it but, I never got a chance to see it.) He said that he would like to get us tickets and a backstage tour after the show. Thursday night we had great seats to see the show, which deserves every award it’s won. Memphis was fantastic, I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. After the show, Kenny (the man from the airport) and his wife Marlene gave us a backstage tour and introduced us to some of the cast. Once again I was in awe of how wonderful the theater community is. Thanks to this very generous man I didn’t get just one wish, I got two.

Friday I again woke with a smile on my face. It was our last day in the city but, there was one thing left on my list of must dos. The Museum of Modern Art is home to my favorite painting of all time, Van Gough’s Starry Night. My ankle was hurting pretty badly after all the walking I had done the rest of the week but, I had to see it. I am so glad I did. The painting was so beautiful; the stars even seemed to twinkle. I fell in love with it all over again when I saw it in person. It was a magical ending to the most magical week of my life.

Above anything else, this trip renewed my belief that everything happens for a reason. Even though I was very disappointed when my trip was postponed, it was definitely for the best. First, we would have frozen our butts off in December and would have had a terrible time getting around. We wouldn’t have met Kenny at the airport and we wouldn’t have gone to a Yankees game. Most importantly I would have had a lot of trouble getting around. In December I was still completely dependent on a cane to get around. Now I don’t need any walking aid except the occasional arm of another person. There is no way I could have walked all over the theater at the Lion King like I did. In short, my wish would not have been nearly as wonderful as it was. Like I said, everything happens for a reason.

Thank you Make A Wish so very much for making my dream come true!!!

Mischief Managed, SAMMY

If you would like to see more pictures go to:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I'm walking on sunshine...

oooooh and don't I FEEL GOOD!!!

It has been too long since I last updated you all, I have been so busy. Today I decided there were too many things to report to wait another day.

I'll start by sharing that yesterday my 6 month MRI came back clear! It was about this time last year that I was asking every person who came into my hospital room "When will I be able to walk on my own?" No one had an answer. Well today was the answer because today was the first day I walked without my cane all day at school. I knew it was time to stop using the cane when I was leaving it in classrooms and carrying it more than walking with it. By the end of the day I actually felt better. The cane made me walk with a slight limp, but today I was forced to walk normally.

I've been home from the convention in sunny San Diego for about 2 weeks and it's high time I filled you in on that experience. Wonderfully magnificently amazingly fantastic doesn't even scratch the surface on how great this trip was. As usual the Sunshine Kids people were amazing. Us kids certainly got the rock star treatment. There were 7 kids between last year's and this year's spokeskids. By the second day I felt like I had known these people forever, we completely clicked. I bonded more closely with them in 4 days than with anyone on my Orlando trip. We had such a fun time and continue to correspond with each other. The Sunshine Kids did what they do best: make cancer go away, and replace it with fun. I am forever grateful to this organization for giving me something I couldn't get anywhere else. They are simply the best.

My last bit of fun news came this afternoon when I got a call after school. It was from the Seattle Times letting me know that I had won 2 tickets to see the musical Billy Elliot next Wednesday night. I was one of three winners in an essay contest. The task was to right a 500 word essay about beating the odds. I thought I would share my essay with you:

I am graduating on time, with my class. That may not sound like a huge accomplishment; thousands of teenagers do it every year. For me on the other hand, it is the most difficult thing I have ever done. My struggle began October of my sophomore year when I began to have terrible migraine-like headaches. After taking migraine medication for two weeks without any progress, my doctor ordered an MRI and I am so lucky he did. I had a Twinkie-sized mass and fluid in my brain. The mass turned out to be a cancerous tumor. First, I had surgery to remove the tumor which was the easiest part of my whole ordeal. A few weeks later I had my first of 30 rounds of radiation. While doing all of that I was also trying to keep up with school through a home tutor. By the time radiation finished I was worn out, but I was only half way done, I still had six months of chemotherapy to complete. Now, what are the odds that after my first chemo I’d be attacked by a deadly flesh-eating infection? Pretty low you’d think. Well that wasn’t the case; my calf and thigh were attacked by the nastiest infection imaginable. I had ten operations, two weeks of hefty antibiotics, countless bags of blood products and a six week stay in a hospital bed. Before I left the hospital I had to face another round of chemo. It’d be safe to say I was a bit gun shy after the events that followed my first chemo.
All told I hardly walked for eight weeks prior to starting physical therapy. During my time at the hospital I decided that there was no way I could still try to do school, so I did not finish the second semester of my sophomore year. All summer, the start of school loomed over me. Would I have enough energy to make it through the day? Would all of the cancer treatment affect my learning ability? How would I navigate the crowed halls of my high school with a walker? When school began this year I had little to no hope that I could graduate on time. I was a junior taking mostly sophomore classes and I was physically struggling to get through the day. I had underestimated myself. By November I had switched from the walker to a cane and was getting straight A’s despite my absences for sickness and doctor’s appointments. At the end of first semester, in late January, I began to toy with the idea of graduating on time. I went to my counselor and we figured it out, all I had to do was take one summer school class. I overcame all the obstacles and beat the odds to graduate on time in 2012 cancer free.

Mischief Managed,


P.S. Only 2 weeks until my Make-A-Wish trip to New York city!!!

Here are some pictures from my trip:

The kids with O.P. Otter at Sea World.

Party at Petco Park

Meet the Kids! (Geoff, Steven, Kyle, Me, Katie, Shaq and Keyah)

The kids with Jay Leno!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

They say it's your birthday, WELL IT'S MY BIRTHDAY TOO YAH

I can't believe how fast these past few weeks have gone. So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin, I guess I'll just write as it comes to me.

Yesterday was my 17th birthday! I had a very nice relaxed day at home and dinner at Famous Dave's BBQ. Earlier this week I got my drivers permit because I am starting driver's ed on Wednesday. Mom took me to drive in an empty parking lot. Man, it is HARD, there is so much to focus on and the view is way different than in the passenger's seat. I'm kinda nervous but also really excited to learn to drive. Watch out world, here I come.

The past couple weeks have had their ups and downs. I've had some trouble with my leg and have been fighting a sinus cold off and on, but the last few days I have been feeling a lot better and walking a lot better. Now I only use the cane at school or if I am doing a lot of walking.

The best news of all came this past Friday. I was asked to be a spokeskid for the Sunshine Kids , the organization responsible for my Orlando trip.

"The Sunshine Kids is a non-profit organization dedicated to children with cancer. Established in 1982, we are committed to providing positive group activities and emotional support for young cancer patients. The Sunshine Kids provides a variety of programs and events, free of charge, for kids who are receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across North America."

March 6th- 9th I will be in San Diego at a convention for the Sunshine Kids. I am thrilled and so honored that I was chosen to be one of the 4 2011 spokeskids.

I can't believe that I almost forgot to share the absolute best news.
I AM GRADUATING ON TIME IN 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have to do is take 2 classes over the summer, but otherwise I have the right credits in the right places to be able to graduate. I am so happy that I will get to move on with my life and not stay stuck in high school for an extra year. I can not express my elation when I figured this out, I was (and am) over the moon happy.
Mischief Managed,

September 25, 2011
Is the date for the 2011 RUN OF HOPE benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund at Seattle Children's Hospital (AKA the people who saved my life and many more)

Get ready to fundraise because I want Sammy's Blobslayers to be the biggest highest earning team at this year's run/walk.

More information to come.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hair: (not) the musical

I can’t believe how fast January has gone. I can't believe how fast this semester has gone. Its seems like school just started, so Ireally can't believe finals are this week

Though I’ve had some ups and downs with different wintertime bugs, I am feeling much better and I have made huge strides in physical therapy. I can attribute much of my progress to the exercise bike we bought at Costco. Now, instead of working out twice a week, I can work out every day. I always said my best days were the days I worked out at physical therapy, now I can do that everyday. I can’t wait to see how much I progress in the next few months.

My leg isn’t the only thing making progress; my hair has been growing like a fiend. I actually got a hair cut this past Tuesday. A very nice lady named Tracey has been cutting my hair for years and it was hard to tell who was more excited, her or me. After she evened it all out, she gelled it up. we had fun messing around with different spiky styles. My favorite was the fohawk seen below.

Mischief Managed,

September 25, 2011
Is the date for the 2011 RUN OF HOPE benefiting the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund at Seattle children's hospital (AKA the people who saved my life and many more)

Get ready to fundraise because I want Sammy's Blobslayers to be the biggest highest earning team at this year's run/walk.

More information to come.