Sam Berns’ Philosophy for a Happy Life

The 17-year-old Jewish teen died from progeria, a rare genetic disease that causes accelerated aging. He embraced life with joy, following these three principles.

Sam Berns, a Boston-area Jewish teen who was fighting against progeria, a rare genetic disease that causes accelerated aging, died Friday, Jan 10, 2014. He was 17, three years older than the typical life expectancy for children with the disease.

Sam strove to live his life with joy. “Even though there are many obstacles in my life, I don’t want people to feel bad for me.” Listen to his three points on how to live a happy life in this video below that was filmed last month.

Click here if you are unable to view this video.

Comments (32)

(31) Doris Falk, May 17, 2020 10:14 PM


Sam is an example to me about how to think and live. He’s truly a spiritual person, something I strive for every day. My age (77) gives me many obstacles but hearing Sam’s philosophy put me in the right frame of mind. That is, have an attitude of gratitude and think positive, not negative. That is a choice.

(30) Reuven Frank, December 4, 2016 1:32 PM

Such a nice Jewish boy

I'd "encountered" Sam many times in my travels through YouTube and the net. This is the first time I learned that he was Jewish.
Such wisdom, such strength, such courage, such determination.

If Sam's philosophy was way beyond his 17 years, it's because his physiological age was so far beyond. You make a lot of time to think about life and death when they are more concrete entities than abstract concepts in your everyday life.

Sam: Tehei zichracha baruch.

Aishers: Is there any way to get Sam's full Hebrew name?

(29) Anonymous, February 15, 2014 11:41 PM

I truly believe that G-d had assign a very special mission for Sam to accomplish .As much as it painful to all the people who loved and cared for Sam,it was so much goodness that he spread around in such a short period of time that he was around.

(28) Anonymous, January 25, 2014 11:37 PM

Sam CAN change the world

Sam hoped to change the world and indeed, he has. Please convey my sincere condolences to and deep admiration for Sam's wonderful parents who gave their beloved, incredible son all the love and support he needed to achieve so much in his short, but highly impactful, life. In his death, Sam's inspiring philosophy for a happy life is reaching so many people worldwide, spreading far faster than during his lifetime. May this be a source of comfort to Sam's family and friends and may people's lives continue to improve as a result of Sam's shining example of taking responsibility to create for oneself a happy, fulfilled life despite obstacles.

(27) Anonymous, January 22, 2014 10:58 AM


What an inspiration. May his memory always be blessed.

(26) Anonymous, January 18, 2014 11:20 PM


You are truly and inspirational and special person. The world can learn soooo much from you!!! You go Sam and don't let anyone stop you!

(25) Anonymous, January 18, 2014 7:53 PM

Great example of life. This video should be shared, his thoughts are full of enthusiasm and faith. Blessed are those who shared their lives with Sam. Definitely it is an example of the love of God.

(24) elyse, January 17, 2014 3:25 PM

what a amazing young man!

I am so sorry for your loss.

(23) Anonymous, January 17, 2014 11:06 AM

What a MENSCH!

Sam was an angel sent as a messenger, and will live on in our memories and our hearts. Listen to his wisdom and learn his lesson which he so joyfully and generously shared with all of us.
May his memory always be for a blessing. Heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends--may they always be able to remember him with smiles and love.

(22) Batya, January 17, 2014 2:01 AM

Sam, you may not have become a biologist and changed the world in the way you had imagined, but you changed the world through your inspiring philosophy. May your memory be blessed.

(21) Gregorio Moralez, January 16, 2014 8:38 PM

Every man can overcome any obstacle in life.

Sam showed that everyone has a talent. It takes wise people to discover and exercise it. He was a a hero in a happy life and enjoyed it . May his soul rest in peace.

(20) sherry, January 16, 2014 7:55 PM


sad, Sam Berns, sad.

(19) Zvi Horovitz, January 15, 2014 4:10 AM

In the hearts of many

Sam will remain in the hearts of many - Alive!

(18) J.D., January 15, 2014 2:15 AM


I just watched Life According to Sam a week or two ago. I was dreading the inevitable moment, and was pleasantly surprised he was still alive at the end of the movie. Sad to read this today, Baruch Dayan Emet

(17) dEBBEI lITWACK, January 15, 2014 1:46 AM

Baruch Dayan Ha emes

Hopefully the research will help others not have to have so many challenges in the future.
He clearly was a real bright and special person.

(16) Beatriz, January 14, 2014 10:04 PM

Wise words!

Sam, thank you so much for sharing your philosophy. It is inspiring ! I hope you had a great time at the school dance! :)

(15) Dvorah, January 14, 2014 9:41 PM

Sam is awesome!

Sam has wisdom beyond his years, he is one of Hashem's angels, all who is close to him, is blessed to know him, even if it is a short time...he has made a profound impact on the world. May his soul be amongst the righteous!

Helene Tricker, January 16, 2014 3:31 PM

Wherever Sam may be he is OK!

One can't help falling in love with this delightful young man!
He's taught this 74-year old woman a lesson I hope never to
forget . . .

(14) Gitta, January 14, 2014 8:27 PM


What an upbeat amazing young man. Puts to shame anyone who dares complain about the trivial things in life. After hearing this i think most complains are trivial. His parents are heroes too, helping him cope with this terrible illness in such an upbeat manner!
Thanks Aish for this inspiring piece!

(13) W. E. Fox, January 14, 2014 8:03 PM

Knowing Sam Berns, my life will never be the same!

I am truly grateful to have met Sam Berns through His philosophy on living life so bravely despite his bodily challenges is inspiring and touching to all those who came to know him. He found joy in this life and now goes on to life eternal with continuous and eternal joy. Blessings always to his family and friends, W.E.F.

(12) Anonymous, January 14, 2014 7:51 PM

what a special young man

I would have love to have given him a hug.
This wonderful film will remain for all to see who he was.
Boruch dayan ha-emes (which we say when we hear a Jew has passed away)

(11) deboeah m, January 14, 2014 6:38 PM

Sam's Life will stay alive in all who he touched

This was a very special young man who gave me a gift that I hope to pay forward. His family gave the world a very special person and his memory will live on in all who he touched.

(10) Donna Perel, January 14, 2014 12:37 PM


I am truly humbled. There are no words. May Sam's parents, family and friends be comforted and find chizuk in the LIFE and death of this amazing young man.

(9) Chaya, January 14, 2014 9:01 AM

may we all be able to embrace life as he did

(8) Miriam Rivka, January 14, 2014 3:25 AM

What an inspiration

I found Sam's enthusiasm and honesty so refreshing and inspiring.

(7) Jacob, January 14, 2014 2:54 AM

Brave and inspiring.

what an incredibly moving story. May his parents find comfort in the thought that their son made a positive impact on many people in his short and challenging life. I hope that his relatives receive much comfort and love in these difficult times

(6) G. Berry, January 14, 2014 1:54 AM

BD"E Such a profound loss

Perhaps his biggest fan was Robert Kraft, owner of the Patriots. He said of Sam:
"“I would love to have seen him in Washington. He could get things done. He could build bridges. He had the intellectual prowess and knew how to deal with difficult situations. This kid, he was going to make a difference. That’s what I keep going back to. Not just that we’ve lost him, but we’ve lost somebody who was going to make a difference. Do things." When he was invited to a Patriots practice that month, where he gave the players an impromptu motivational speech.

At the practice, Berns was asked to name his favorite player. He did not have one, he replied — it takes a team to succeed.

Rest in peace, Sam Berns.

(5) Ari, January 13, 2014 11:04 PM


I'm always inspired when I hear of people who approach their challenges with such an amazing attitude. Hearing those words from a man of 80 or 90 is inspiring. But coming from a boy of just 17, who has gone through so words! Yehi Zichro Boruch- may his memory be a blessing for all of us

(4) Daniel Estreicher, January 13, 2014 9:52 PM

My you be comforted

May G-d comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.Sam was such a special young man. He has inspired me to be a better person.

(3) Anonymous, January 13, 2014 8:59 PM

keep moving forward

what an amazing person. what an amazing soul. he accomplished so much in his lifetime- what we all want to accomplish in 70 years! i am blown away.....the power of choice rings loud and clear here- to keep moving forward, to choose to. he is wise beyond his years. may his memory be a blessing for his bereft family. my condolences to you , his family- what a tragic loss, for all of us.

(2) Anonymous, January 13, 2014 7:53 PM

The world just got a little darker.....

Sam, I am in awe of you, truly a g-dly soul. When i watched your movie, i was so amazing by your outlook, attitude and overall perspective about life. Sam you exemplify resilience and will take your lessons to heart and pass them onto my own family. THANK YOU SAM. My heart breaks for your family, they too are hero's, bringing so much LIGHT into the world. To the Burns family, i send my most sincere condolences on your loss. Sam's passing is a loss for the world, but his LIGHT will radiate forever!!! With Love.

(1) Nancy, January 13, 2014 7:08 PM

Baruch Dayan Emet. May his neshama have an aliyah. This young man was quite the mensch. My sincere condolences to his parents on this terrible loss.


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