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Two-year-old fighting brain cancer, family cherishing moments - Live5News.com | Charleston, SC | News, Weather, Sports

Two-year-old fighting brain cancer, family cherishing moments

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Two-year-old Sam Lee is your average toddler. Sam loves playing with his fort, pushing his dump truck and naming his favorite dinosaurs.

Its also Sam's talkative ways and bossy personality that mom Erin Benson says she lives for.

"I see a lot of myself in him and so does everyone else", said Sam's mom Erin.

Behind the smiles and occasional laughs as the family spends valuable time together is a sense of urgency.

Michael and Erin received a devastating diagnosis this past July that little Sam has a rare and terminal brain cancer called DIPG (Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma) and has been given a year to live.

The news came the same week Erin was in the hospital with preeclampsia while pregnant with twin girls.

"It was so difficult to wrap your mind around so happy by the twins birth but it was tainted by Sam's diagnosis" said Sam's dad Michael.

In the midst of Erin and Michael's pain they decided to fight this deadly disease the only way they know how.

Sam has had radiation treatments to buy more time but his family has decided to create a bucket list.

The family is traveling all over the country with newborns in tow to make priceless memories.

"I just remember it was right after he was diagnosed and I was angry and I just said let's just go well go everywhere", Benson said.

Family, friends and perfect strangers started a fund on rally dot org for the family to take these special trips.

So far 40 thousand dollars have already been raised to make these trips possible.

Erin and Michael are making it a point to take in the sights and sounds of all of Sam's favorite things.

They have already visited places like the Children's Museum in New York, even a behind the scenes tour of the whale shark tank at the Atlanta aquarium.

"It was incredible and Sam was pressed against the window" Benson said.

"Thinking about the trips and talking about the trips helps keep us focused and positive", Lee said.

Most recently Sam made his first trip to Disney World.

"It was fun for us to see that for all of us to see that was special", Benson said.

While the couple continues to make lasting memories they along with Sam's doctor also want people to be aware of this rare but devastating cancerous tumor that has turned their world upside down.

DIPG can happen in any perfectly healthy child from the ages of 2 to 10..

"With any tumor in the brain you are looking for the inability to walk inability to talk trouble controlling facial movements or eyes are some significant symptoms of DIPG", Dr. Amy Lee-Bredlau said.

Erin and Michael remain not only hopeful but thankful for the well wishes and donations that are helping them check off yet another precious moment on Sam's list.

"We are learning if you need help people they will be there for you in ways you could not imagine", Benson said.

"What the time and opportunities mean to us is not able to be paid back its an impossible debt", Lee said.

Copyright 2013 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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