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Teen Who Lived An Inspiring Life Battling Progeria Dies

Update Date: Jan 12, 2014 06:24 PM EST

Sam Berns, a Foxborough high school student who was suffering from progeria, a little-understood “premature aging” disease has died at age 17. His battle with progeria inspired a number of researchers to put their efforts in finding a treatment for the disease.

The teen was due to serve an honorary captain at the New England Patriots’ playoff game on 11th of this month.

Both his parents, Leslie Gordon and Scott Berns, are doctors by occupations. His mother also started a research campaign that brought children suffering with progeria to Boston from all over the world. In 2003, she along with her team was successful in isolating the gene that caused such condition. Since then, the drug treatment has been helping the children suffering from the disease.

The Berns family and their work for progeria patients are the subject of a feature film titled “Life According to Sam." It was recently shortlisted for a nomination in the documentary category of Academy Awards.

Progeria Research Foundation, a non-profit based in Peabody, established and directed by Sam’s aunt, Audrey Gordon has also been receiving overwhelming response from fund raisers. Robert Kraft, owner of Patriots made a $500,000 matching pledge to the foundation after he was introduced to Sam in the HBO premiere of the documentary movie.

Sam was also an avid sports fan and used to play snare drum in the Foxborough High School marching band.

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