Foun­da­tion to hold food drive for Union Hospi­tal

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JANE BELLMYER

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— A booth that will be set up in the Big Elk Mall near the Acme gro­cery store on Satur­day and Sun­day is all about pay­ing it for­ward in mem­ory of Samantha Ball.

Ball, an Elk­ton na­tive, died Feb. 7 from lym­phoma, a form of cancer. She was 23.

Samm’s Lym­phoma Fight Foun­da­tion was started in her honor, and the or­ga­ni­za­tion will be col­lect­ing non­per­ish­able food from 8 a.m. un­til 4 p.m. both days for pa­tients served by Union Hospi­tal’s Cancer Cen­ter.

“When our fam­ily was go­ing through this peo­ple were help­ing us,” said Shawn An­der­son, Ball’s boyfriend.

Ball first be­came sick in Novem­ber 2014. Since the symp­toms mim­icked the flu, doc­tors did not look deeper into her cough, headache and body aches. She was di­ag­nosed with lym­phoma on Jan. 28, 2015, and the dis­ease spread quickly. By July, it was in the young woman’s brain.

But she kept fight­ing, said Amy

ELK­TON

Ball, Samm’s sis­ter, a mem­ber of the foun­da­tion and its event plan­ner.

“She was a fighter, coura­geous, beau­ti­ful, hard work­ing, smart, fun to be around,” Amy said.

Jen­nifer Hawkins said she will al­ways re­mem­ber Samm’s sar­casm. For Con­nie Forster, an­other board mem­ber, Samm’s bub­bly per­son­al­ity lingers.

Samm and Shawn’s son Liam has turned 4 since his mother died. Shawn said the child is just now be­gin­ning to process the loss.

“He does fre­quently get up­set,” Shawn said. “He’s start­ing to un­der­stand.”

“Liam was her life,” Amy said, adding Samm would ap­prove of this food drive. “She would do any­thing for you.”

That in­cluded giv­ing money to peo­ple she saw on street cor­ners.

“She’d of­ten get mad at me for not stop­ping,” An­der­son re­called.

To keep her mem­ory alive, the foun­da­tion is be­gin­ning with this hands-on help for the food bank.

“The Union Hospi­tal Cancer Cen­ter did a lot for us when Samm was sick,” An­der­son said, not­ing that hat help in­cluded food, coun­sel­ing and gift cards for gaso­line.

How­ever, he in­di­cates there is a larger goal.

“We want to be­come big­ger than the (Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion),” he said. “We want to be so big that peo­ple can come to us.”

When in­sur­ance won’t cover a med­i­ca­tion, or some­thing gets de­nied or runs out, Samm’s Lym­phoma Fight Foun­da­tion would step in, he said.

“We can give them the money,” An­der­son said of the non­profit’s vi­sion.

While col­lect­ing food, the foun­da­tion will also have the hospi­tal iden­tify a fam­ily in cancer treat­ment to adopt for Thanksgiving and Christ­mas.

Plan­ning will also be­gin soon for the Se­cond An­nual Beef and Beer and Mo­tor­cy­cle Run to be held in April.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the foun­da­tion, or to vol­un­teer con­tact them through the Samm’s Lym­phoma Fight Foun­da­tion Face­book page or send an email to samm­slym­phomafight­foun­da­tion@gmail.com

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF SLFF

Samantha Ball died in Fe­bru­ary, leav­ing be­hind a close-knit fam­ily, which in­cludes her son Liam, 4.

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