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A Mother Remembers One of Our Cure Kids Cancers Heroes

Grorud family

Some birthdays are bittersweet.

This past Friday, January 11th, would have been the 18th birthday of one of our Cure Kids Cancer heroes, Sam Grorud.   We first met Sam and his family during Radiothon 2011 when Sam was 16.  He was newly diagnosed with leukemia, but maintained such an amazing spirit and outlook that we were all immediately drawn to this incredible young man from Milbank, South Dakota.

I can remember sitting there that day at Sanford Children’s Hospital watching Sam get his head shaved, thinking if anyone can beat this it’s Sam.

Sadly that wasn’t the case.

Nine months later his fight was over, but let me tell you, that wonderful young man gave leukemia a run for its money every step of the way.  It may have broken his body, but it barely laid a finger on his soul.  Sam was the kind of person that was wise and compassionate beyond his years, lighting up room after room with his smile and touching heart after heart with his unwavering positive attitude and words of wisdom.

Sam's Cabin
Jeff Harkness

This past summer my wife and I were honored to get a call from Sam’s Mom, Teresa, inviting us to come and see how Sam’s legacy lives on in a very special place at Big Stone Lake.  I included some audio from a conversation that I had with Sam the summer before he passed away.

With the arrival of what would have been his 18th birthday last week, Teresa took time to reflect on the life of her angel:

Sam Grorud baby photo
Teresa Grorud/

Eighteen years ago I gave birth to a beautiful 9 lb., 2 oz. baby boy with a full head of black hair. The next day our good friend who was also our pediatrician asked us to keep our eyes open for any identifying marks that we could report. He told us that when they fill out a birth certificate they write in any identifying marks that the baby may have. However Sam was so perfect that they couldn’t find anything to write down.


Someone came in to clean the room and they said “oh this is the baby that everyone is talking about that has so much hair.” That hair……… Once he got into Middle School and High School we would tell him that he needed to get a haircut and his standard answer was “Chicks dig long hair!” After he lost his hair Dustin would tell Sam that he should have just cut his hair when we told him to. Then whenever Dustin was around he would threaten Sam with a marker and use the “Cool Runnings” line….”If I draw a line down the middle of your head it will look like a butt.” Sam enjoyed humor throughout his illness.


It is so hard not to think about all the things that you would be doing right now if you were still here on earth. I try to replace those thoughts with one of the many happy memories that we created together. Each one of those memories is a precious gift from God. I had almost 17 years with you and as Dewey still reminds people, “the Angels came and got Sam!”


“God saw you getting tired, when a cure was not to be
So he wrapped his arms around you and whispered, ‘come to me’
You didn’t deserve what you went through so He gave you rest
God’s garden must be beautiful, He only takes the best
And when I saw you sleeping so peaceful and free from pain
I could not wish you back to suffer that again.”

Sam and Teresa Grorud

I am so grateful for the gift of eternal life that God has promised to us. I am also thankful for Sam’s friends who still share their lives with us. I appreciate every invitation and every visit! The saying above came from our friend Lexy Becker’s mom and was posted on Payton Hand’s page. I am grateful for the strength that has come through these beautiful women and others: family, doctors, nurses, friends, our church, etc. etc. Thank you all!

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