Kansas City businesses come together to celebrate teen cancer survivor

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In her 18 years of life, Samantha Staples has endured more than most have in a lifetime. However, no matter what life has thrown at her, she’s never lost her smile.

When Samantha was 6 years old, her mother died from cancer. Overcoming the loss of her mother was difficult for Samantha. She attended Camp Kesem for several years, where counselors help children whose parents have cancer come to grips with the difficult road ahead. 

Years later, Samantha herself received a shocking diagnosis.

When Samantha was 13 years old, suddenly she lost her ability to walk without assistance. After seeking medical advice, doctors discovered that she had congenital myasthenia gravis. As doctors were conducting tests, they also discovered that Samantha had ovarian cancer. 

At 16, Samantha underwent a partial hysterectomy. 

Since then, she’s been cancer free for two years. 

“A long journey. It’s been rough, but every day is kind of a good bad day,” Samantha said.

Samantha’s wish to travel to Italy was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions. So instead, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and several Kansas City businesses decided to give her the shopping spree of a lifetime. 

“Everyone has been so kind, and I’ve had an amazing time so far,” Samantha said.

Samantha and her sister Christina hopped in a limousine to enjoy the best that Kansas City has to offer, but of course, not without jamming out to some Taylor Swift on the way. 

Christina said Samantha’s strength and optimism are unmatched.

“When another thing happens, she’s like, ‘What’s next? I beat everything else. I’ll beat this too,” Christina said. 

Those who took part in making Samantha’s wish come true said her joy is infectious. 

“She just started talking, smiling and laughing,” said Kelly Nadeau, philanthropy manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“She’s a great personality. She’s so much fun to be around. She’s super genuine,” said Alyson Jacobsmeyer, a Kendra Scott employee.

A Gofundme page has been set up for Samantha to help reach her dreams and get a camera.

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