Progeria: Sam Berns Dies at Age 17 – “My Philosophy For A Happy Life”

I have seen young Sam Berns in interviews countless times over his short life. He was born with Progeria, a genetic disorder that ages an individual by leaps and bounds. He was only one of “a few hundred” with the disease. The average life span of a person with Progeria is 13. Sam lived to 17. The video below is Sam speaking at TEDx giving his “philosophy for a happy life.”

Sam Berns with Parents Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns Photo Credit: Sean Fine/HBO (click for additional information)

Sam Berns with Parents Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns Photo Credit: Sean Fine/HBO (click for additional information)

Sampson Gordon Berns was born in Providence, Rhode Is, on October 23, 1996, the only child of Scott Berns, a pediatrician, and Leslie Gordon, then a pediatric intern. He received a diagnosis of progeria shortly before his second birthday…

At his death, Sam had been planning to apply to college, where he hoped to study genetics or cell biology.

“No matter what I choose to become, I believe that I can change the world,” he said in his TEDx talk last year. “And as I’m striving to change the world, I will be happy.” Source: Sydney Morning Herald

Sam was an ardent New England Patriots fan and was scheduled to be an ‘honorary captain’ in the NFL playoff with the Indianapolis Colts. Instead, the team held a ‘moment of silence.’

“I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “He was a special young man whose inspirational story and positive outlook on life touched my heart.” Source: CNN

A full-length documentary, Life According to Sam, was released in 2013. In the video below (October 2013), he said he wants to study genetics or cell biology. Both of his parents are doctors and founded a Progeria research foundation soon after his diagnosis.

Sam’s death is attributed to complications of Progeria. In the video you will hear a really sweet piece of his philosophy of a happy life: never miss a party if you can help it.”

If you have problems weighing you down, you should watch this video. Bookmark it here or on YouTube and keep coming back to it. Photo courtesy of

Sam Berns, TEDx Speech (video)

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