Until less than one year ago, Sam Reiser lived the life of a typical healthy, active sixteen-year-old. He enjoyed hanging with his friends, going to high school and playing on the Carlsbad High Freshman volleyball team. Then in March of 2009, Sam and his parents sought medical attention for a lump in his neck that they thought was the result of a strained muscle. After what they assumed would be a routine trip to the doctor, they were shocked by what the tests revealed. Sam was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, Stage B. That day everything changed for Sam and his family.
Sam was born right here in Carlsbad and is a local boy through and through. In his younger years he participated in Indian Guides, then later in Boy Scouts. In fact, he is only one project away from achieving his goal of becoming an Eagle Scout. He grew up playing baseball with all his friends in the Carlsbad Youth Baseball League, and later switched his athletic focus to volleyball.
As he grew older, it became obvious to all who knew him that Sam had developed into an exceptional young man. He is a terrific student, an articulate communicator and has what some refer to as “personality plus.” In addition to playing volleyball for CHS, Sam is involved with his church youth group at Ranch Del Rey and volunteers his time and talents each summer to the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. When asked what they think of Sam, his peers are quick to point out that he is a truly kind soul. Clearly Sam is well loved and respected.
Unfortunately, Sam’s energy and focus have now shifted as he battles lymphoma. After completing the prescribed protocol of five rounds of chemotherapy followed by three weeks of radiation, tests determined that some cancer cells remained in his body. This meant that Sam has what the doctors refer to as “refractory cancer.” Refractory cancer requires a second round of chemotherapy to completely eradicate every cancer cell. For Sam this means undergoing more weeks of pain and nausea from the chemo treatments…more weeks in the hospital away from family and friends…more weeks of suffering. But in spite of all he has been through and all he is currently enduring, Sam’s mother describes him as “strong in spirit.” He is an exceptional young man indeed.
Once Sam has completed this second round of chemotherapy to clear his body of all lingering cancer cells, he will undergo a stem cell transplant. His doctors harvested Sam’s own healthy stem cells and have been storing them for the day when they receive the “all clear” to go ahead with the transplant. Once all the bad cells have been eliminated, this procedure will allow for the complete rebuilding of healthy cells “from the ground up.” While his body is busy rebuilding its immune system, Sam will need to be kept isolated to protect him from invading germs. But once the process is complete, he will once again have a healthy body and a bright future.
Fighting cancer is a rough battle, but one that Sam is determined to win. With the support of his loving family, friends and the medical community that surrounds him, Sam has maintained a positive outlook and an unwavering strength of character. In spite of the physical suffering that accompanies cancer treatment, Sam looks forward to the future and has all the hope in the world.