In 2007, Sam lost his dad, Dick Halpern, to ALS when he was only seven years old. Through his initiative, Dick's Devotees, he's raised more than $50,000 for research. Now a Young Faces of ALS ambassador for the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI), Sam spoke at the organization's 2016 White Coat Affair gala in Boston (pictured above). He also is a committee member of the MDA Night of Hope Gala in Atlanta, and, in 2011, was an Atlanta INtown 20 Under 20 honoree.
Sam's dad's ALS prevented them from being able to do typical father-son activities. Over the past few years, Sam has come to realize how especially difficult it must have been for his dad to know he wouldn't be able to watch his children grow up, not be able to do things on his own because he couldn't move his muscles, and not being able to eat or talk (which were two of his most favorite activities). Sam misses him every single day and hopes to continue helping others with ALS and advancing research in his dad's memory.
Currently a high school senior, Sam is Editor-in-Chief of his school's newspaper, is president of the Student Tech Team, and is a member of his school's advisory committee for a three-school interfaith group. In addition to ALS research, he remains interested in business, politics, technology, and design. Most recently, he has been busy applying to colleges, where he hopes to continue to support ALS research.