Funeral services planned Aug. 27 for Sam Bish
Cindy Bish lost her 9-year-old son, Sam, to cancer last week, but for her, the fight against the disease is not over.
"With the help of some close friends, we are going to start a foundation called the Sam Bish Foundation," she said.
The foundation is in the very early stages but Bish said access to information about it will be available online at www.facebook.com.
"We're hoping to help other families that have children that have osteosarcoma or pediatric cancer and we want to do this to help keep Sam's memory alive," she said.
She said she will also keep updating Sam's Web page at http://caringbridge.org\visit\sambish.
Bish said a rally will take place at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, at the Statehouse in downtown Columbus to mark September as Pediatric Cancer Month. Gold ribbons are used to denote pediatric cancer, she said.
"You hear nothing about pediatric cancer. It's almost taboo, like people don't think it's going to happen to them, so they're not going to mention it," Bish said. "We didn't think it was going to happen to us, either, and we got thrust into this world. It very much exists.
"There needs to be awareness because too many children are suffering and dying every day from pediatric cancer," she said.
Samuel Gordon Bish died at his Reynoldsburg home Aug. 20 with his family by his side after a one-year battle against the disease.
He was diagnosed on Aug. 10, 2009 with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in his right leg. A year of active treatment followed.
His mother said the family was hopeful in the spring that the treatment had worked, but after returning from a Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World in July, they learned Sam's condition had worsened.
Cindy Bish said Sam was active and felt wonderful during that trip.
"We went in for him to complete his very last in-patient chemotherapy and get all of his end-of-chemo scans and the scans showed there was more cancer in his lungs," she said.
"In April, his lungs had been cleared because he had had his third lung surgery and in just a matter of weeks, the cancer had overtaken his lungs again, and it was actually all throughout his body - even worse than when he was first diagnosed."
Bish said osteosarcoma is a very aggressive cancer and Sam was receiving the highest chemotherapy he could get to treat it, but in the end, his body did not respond to it.
"We had high hopes. We knew the chance of him relapsing was very high, and we thought after this last in-patient chemotherapy, we thought we'd have a good window where maybe he'd be able to have some months of being able to live a normal life again," Bish said.
"He never got that because when we went in for that last scan, it had spread with a vengeance," she said.
Sam was a third grade student at French Run Elementary School. His illness had caused him to miss most of the last school year. His mother said he would have to had repeat third grade but before he passed away, principal Mary Ann Burns promoted him to the fourth grade through a special certificate of recognition.
A celebration of Sam's life will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 27, at Westerville Christian Church, 471 E. College Ave., Westerville. The family will receive friends from 4-8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, at Schoedinger Northeast Chapel, 1051 E. Johnstown Road, Gahanna; and from 10-11 a.m. Friday at the church.
In addition to his parents, Cindy and Mike, Sam is survived by two sisters, Aubrey and Caitlin; grandparents Gail Handwork, Jeffrey (Linda) Wallerstein and Bob and Joanne Bish; great-grandparents Pauline Gordon and Paul and Faye Handwork; aunts and uncles Sarah (Dan) Koren and Jim (Beth) Bish; and cousins Ian Cameron, Emily and Lauren Bish.
He was preceded in death by his grandfather, Greg Handwork, and great-grandmothers Katherine Sherman and Martha Bish.
Contributions may be made to Make-A-Wish, Central Ohio Region, 2545 Farmers Drive, Suite 300, Columbus, Ohio 43235; to Nationwide Children's Hospice Unit or to Nationwide Children's Hematology and Oncology Unit, attn: Commemorative, Children's Hospital Foundation, P.O. Box 16810, Columbus, Ohio 43272-5117.