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September 27, 2016 / 24 Elul, 5776
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8-Year-Old ‘Superman Sam’ Sommer Died of Leukemia

"Over his entire brief but meaningful life, Sammy has taught all of us about courage, struggle, strength, and wisdom."
Superman Sam and his mother

Sam Sommer, the 8-year-old boy whose battle against leukemia was documented by his parents in a widely followed blog, died Saturday and was buried on Monday. More than 1,000 mourners came to pay their respects Monday at the Am Shalom synagogue in Glencoe, Ill., the Chicago Tribune reported.

The blog, dubbed “Superman Sam,” was written by his mother, Phyllis Sommer, who acts as a rabbi. “He died peacefully and calmly and quietly at 12:33 a.m.,” she wrote on her blog. “He was not in fear or in pain. And for that I am eternally grateful.”

“Over his entire brief but meaningful life, Sammy has taught all of us about courage, struggle, strength, and wisdom. But, over the last year and a half, Sam and the entire Sommer family have taught us all about grace, beauty, peace, and acceptance,” read an announcement put out by the Am Shalom synagogue.

Here are excerpts from Phyllis Sommer’s Saturday’s blog entry, titled What I’m Missing:

On Friday morning, Sam woke up with a headache and nausea. He was vomiting a little, and we weren’t quite sure what the dark spots in his vomit were. But I had a terrible feeling.

We were scheduled for a trip to the clinic, and, frankly, we weren’t ready to imagine what it would be like without that trip. Giving up that trip, to me, meant we were ready to admit how very close we were to the end. Giving up that trip wasn’t really an option. Even Sam wanted to go.

So we made the drive. (It’s an hour and 15 minutes.)

About 15 minutes out from the hospital, he started to vomit…it was dark and bloody.

He never really spoke to us again. 


His breathing began to change. There were long pauses between the breaths. I caught myself holding my breath and the nurse and I exchanged a momentarily-frightened glance. We turned on the lights, we got Michael from upstairs.

We held our child close.

He took one final breath…

JNS content was used in this report.

What I’m Missing

Jewish Press Staff

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