Never lose hope and never give up! This is a lesson that Sam taught all of us. For the last 11 months our family and friends rode an emotional roller coaster with Sam while he underwent treatment for a rare form of leukemia. Against the odds, Sam kept up hope, pushed himself and persevered to the very end. He never gave up. He is an inspiration to all who knew him.
Throughout his life, Sam was cheerful, kind and caring towards others. He had an incredible, natural ability to easily make friends with anyone, anywhere, at any time. He made people happy.
Sam was also a passionate sports fan. Although Sam grew up in the Twin Cities, his favorite team was the Green Bay Packers. For most of his life he enjoyed taunting his lifelong Minnesota Viking fan friends with the Packer’s success. Last year not so much, but Sam knew that this year will be different.
Sam will be dearly missed by both family and friends. His mother Kimberly Gilles (Brian), his brother Peter Garland (Emily Heroux), his father Tom Garland (Terri), his stepbrother Beau Gilles, his girlfriend Camille Lund, his grandparents Rita Garland, Gary and Karen Evjen as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins, step grandparents and friends.
Sam was preceded in death by his grandmother, Judy Evjen, and his grandfather, Jack Garland.
Sam, all of those who loved you are broken hearted today. We will never forget you. We will love you and miss you until we are all reunited again. We vow going forward to live our lives in a manner that would make you proud.
Services for Sam will be held at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 13600 Technology Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55344 on Saturday, July 14th at 10:30 a.m. with formal services beginning at 11:00 a.m., followed by a luncheon at Edina Country Club at 1:00 p.m.
Sam started feeling a little sick the beginning of July. He had called to complain about a sore throat and aching gums. We agreed that a trip to the dentist would rule out anything related to dental care. After a positive check-up and all-clear from the dentist, he maintained a regular work schedule and hanging out with friends as much as possible!
Sometime around the 3rd week of July, Sam's mouth began to bother him again. On the 26th he was having such difficulty swallowing and breathing that he went to the ER at the St. Cloud Hospital. The attending doctor ran a CBC to check his blood count for infection, due to severely swollen tonsils. The initial results of the CBC warranted a call home to mom and dad. It was the following 2 days that forever changed the lives of our family and "greatest group of 21 year olds" we will ever have the pleasure of knowing, or calling a part of our ever-expanding family.
On July 27th God intervened, he placed Samuel's chart in the hands of our first angel, Dr. Dahlia Elkadi. It was under her expert care as an oncologist and overwhelming understanding as a parent that she advised us to move Sam to the U of M. On Friday, July 28th, Sammy was transferred via ambulance with entourage in tow, to the East Bank of the UMMC, located at 500 Harvard St. S.E., room# 7D-506, where God once again intervened. Samuel is currently under the care of Dr. Erika D. Warlick. She is a top-researching hematologist at the University, with equally matching top-bedside manner! We have been blessed many times over as her staff of Fellows and nurses on the floor have been kind, caring and overly accommodating to Sam and his entourage.
As for Sam's entourage...I'm now speaking for Tom & Teri, Brian & myself, we as parents could not be more proud of Sam; because, if he were not the young man that he is today, he would not be SURROUNDED by all of these absolutely amazing young adults. This group of young men & women have been by his bedside while in the ER and subsequently since we've received the leukemia diagnosis. They've traveled back and forth from St. Cloud on a daily basis, called, texted, and snapped. His local friends and their families have been here daily as well, for which we cannot possibly thank all of you enough for your support of our son.
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't speak about the rest of my sons and their significant others. Peter, Beau & Cordell have done everything possibly imaginable to make Sam's room as homey and comfortable as any 21 year old could ever want, in addition to spending close to every spare moment they have by his bedside. Peter's girlfriend, Emily, and her family have provided much needed support for Peter. Emily continues to keep all things organized on that front, as well as spending all of her free time at the hospital and making special healthy treats for Sam, for which we are eternally grateful!! I'm having difficulty finding the words to adequately describe what can only be Sam's angel on earth....CAMILLE!!!! She has been with us (I mean us because she always makes a point of checking on all of us too) from the onset. She's not left Samuel's side, spending every night in the hospital with him, listening in at every doctor's meeting, asking questions when she feels we need more information, and most importantly advocating for Sam when necessary.
Sam's final diagnosis as of 8/1 was bi-lineage leukemia. He will be treated with induction therapy followed by consolidation therapy including a bone marrow transplant. He will be at the UMMC for the next 25 days. We are incessantly praying to hear the word remission at the end of our stay and help Sam to move forward in his life,
continue his education at SCSU, and watch him become a phenomenal counselor of high school students.