Every time I hear “Roar” by Katy Perry, I think of my cousin Sam. The difference between Sam and “Roar” has nothing to do with the awesome jam-session we had in my car one time, but rather the connection between the lyrics and how Sam lives his life and how he inspires us to live our lives.

When Sam was born, I was 7 years old. I remember Will coming over to our house in the middle of the night and my dad going to the hospital. I remember being told that my new cousin wasn’t doing well—I learned later that was putting it gently. Against steep odds, he roared back. As Kate Perry might say, he went from “zero, to my own hero.”  Every day Sam demonstrates that he is a hero. Getting from one place to another is difficult. But that doesn’t slow him down. Speaking isn’t easy. But that doesn’t stop him either. When Sam falls, he stands right back up. He’s relentless. Sam is enthusiastic and can lighten any mood with his endless repertoire of knock-knock jokes.

The more time I spend with Sam, the more people I see fighting for him. I meet more and more people who are involved in Sam’s Squad and know Sam’s story. By standing up and roaring, we become a part of something bigger—a hope for a better future for Sam and for all of those affected by congenital myotonic dystrophy.

So, if you haven’t heard “Roar” recently, I recommend giving it a good listening. We have the opportunity to help Sam, and people like him, by supporting the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. By donating to Sam’s Squad, running in the Dallas Marathon for Sam’s Squad, or by wearing your Sam’s Squad t-shirt you are roaring for my cousin. Good luck to all the runners, contributors, cheerleaders, volunteers, and all who support Sam and the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. Let me hear you roar. My best guess is that Sam will roar right back at you.

By Erin Florence

Sam's Cousin and Freshman at Vanderbilt University