Tasty treats and raffles for a good cause were the headlines of a Sunday morning and afternoon usually reserved for basketball. During the Foxboro Youth Basketball games at the Ahern Middle School, sixth grader Owen Thornton and members of Boy Scouts Troop 32 known as Friends of Sam spent the day selling basked goods to raise money for progeria research.
In addition to the goodies, prizes in the raffle included two Amazon Kindles, Celtics tickets from Foxboro Youth Basketball, an autographed photo of Patriots player Andre Carter with passes to the Hall at Patriot Place, a two-month membership to Personal Best Karate, and a tour of the FOX 25 Newsroom.
Originally only one Kindle was to be raffled but after a friend of Thornton’s mother Kristin (Meehan) Papianou heard that all the tickets were sold, a second one was purchased by her to be raffled.
The idea for the fundraiser came in mid-December after Thornton decided he wanted to do something to help Berns and others with progeria.
“I came home one day and asked if I could do something to help and then my mom helped me posted a bunch of things on Facebook, and then Sam passed so a bunch of people started baking to help,” Thornton explained.
Andrew McPhee, who was in Boy Scouts with Berns and helped during the day, remembered Berns as someone who was kind to everyone and was there when he needed help with his requirements for scouts.
“When we first got into scouting we had a few basic requirements and they were a little difficult. We had to memorize the scout oath and scout law and Sam was there to help me with that,” McPhee said.
Like other aspects of Berns’ life, progeria was never his defining trait. As part of the troop, Berns was just another boy scout trying to earn a new rank or a badge.
“It never defined him. He never let it make it who he was, he always looked for the best of everything. He wanted to be a normal kid and that's pretty much what he was,” McPhee said. “It’s hard to describe him. He lived life to the fullest and achieved so much, he’s a good role model for everyone.”