Doernbecher Children's Hospital

Sam Day Endowed Lectureship in Pediatric Oncology

A photo of Sam Day, a patient of OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital.

The Sam Day Endowed Lectureship in Pediatric Oncology was established to honor the life and legacy of Sam Day. Through his compassion, humor, and infectious love of life, Sam inspired others to dream big, laugh often, and live well.

Sam was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in 2010 when he was nine years old. He received treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, including an amputation just below his knee, and went into remission in May 2011. One year later, Sam relapsed with a tumor in his other foot, and was essentially in treatment for another four years. Sam died in August 2016 at the age of fifteen.

Sam was the kind of kid people remembered, even before he was diagnosed with cancer. He had a spirit that could energize a room full of people, from preschoolers to medical professionals. As soon as he could crawl, he was in search of adventure, even if it meant breaking the rules and another visit with the school principal. He was a compassionate leader with an absorbent mind, soaking up information about world history and politics, and pondering deep ideas in movies like Lord of the Rings. Sam had big dreams and he wanted to make a difference in the world.

During his cancer struggle, Sam’s parents learned the difficult reality that pediatric cancer research is significantly under-funded – its progress decades behind the more common adult cancers. Current treatments for many childhood cancers remain highly toxic and usually lead to long-term health problems. In 2018, the Sam Day Foundation was established with the primary mission of advancing research for some of the most devastating childhood, adolescent, and young adult cancers. 

The annual lectureship is sponsored by the Sam Day Foundation, and is focused on innovation and cutting-edge developments in the field of pediatric oncology. The Lectureship honors the life and legacy of Sam Day by making it possible for OHSU providers, researchers, trainees, and staff to learn from distinguished leaders in the field of pediatric oncology.

2023 – Inaugural lecture
Pediatric Fusion Oncogene Sarcomas: New Insights from Zebrafish Genetic Models
James Amatruda, M.D., M.P.H., Children's Hospital of Los Angeles

Shifting the Paradigm: Challenges and Opportunities in Pediatric Cancer Drug Development
Samuel Blackman, M.D., Ph.D., Day One Biopharmaceuticals