Cause for Applause
This Cambodian orphan decided to raise money for kids ‘just like him’
I’d like to introduce you to my friend Samuel Seehawer. Sam is 13 now, but he was only an infant when I first met him. Samuel’s life began not unlike most physically disabled children in Cambodia. He was born missing both hands; he has one fully formed leg, while the other is missing the fibula, and he has a partial foot with one small toe.
On June 30, 2004, at less than 24 hours old, Samuel was found outside a hospital in Phnom Penh, laying in the dirt and surrounded by garbage. At a month old, he was taken to a government-run orphanage, where he was housed with the other severely disabled babies who had been left there. Because these children are considered “evil,” they are given only the most basic of care, and receive no love.
This is where my good friend Charlotte met Samuel, while on a missionary trip to “love babies.” There was an instant connection between the two and Charlotte knew without a doubt that God had put her here specifically for this baby. After discussions with her husband Mark and teenage daughter Talia—and an adoption process full of miracles— Samuel came home to Canada from Cambodia and became part of the family forever.
In Cambodia, there is a non-governmental orphanage called Place of Rescue, and Charlotte became friends with Marie Ens, who runs it. One day, Marie sent her a picture of a new baby named Sarah, who was born with similar disabilities to Samuel’s. Samuel, who was six now, was touched by the fact she was just like him and wanted to do something special for her as well as the other kids.
At first, he thought he’d send her his toys, but after some discussion, decided he’d ride his little modified bike and raise money to send instead. That was the launch of the inaugural “Samuel’s Ride for Rescue,” which initially raised more than $26,000 for Place of Rescue. His second ride helped raise another $13,000, followed by another $15,000 in 2012. Samuel’s story is amazing and can’t truly be captured here in this small space. He’s been blessed with opportunities to meet many famous people, including the British Royals during their visit to Calgary in 2011.
Sam turned 13 this past June and spent his birthday in Cambodia, visiting Sarah at Place of Rescue, where everything began.
His Ride for Rescue program lasted for five years, and only ended because Place of Rescue no longer needed the funds! What an amazing end to this part of Sam’s story.
These days, Samuel plays trumpet and trombone at school and recently joined the Cadets—he is the first multiple-amputee cadet in all of Canada and holds the rank of corporal.
Sam continues to pave new pathways for himself as he grows, and I’m sure exciting adventures await him in the future. ■