SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

January 15, 2014

Funeral held for teen who had aging disorder

SHARON (AP) — Hundreds of people, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, attended the funeral yesterday of a Massachusetts teenager whose battle with a rare genetic condition that accelerates the aging process inspired professional athletes and spurred medical research.

Sam Berns’ high school classmates also were bused to the services at a synagogue in Sharon. A private reception was held later at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Berns’ hometown.

Berns, 17, died Friday of complications from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, commonly known as progeria. He was diagnosed with progeria when he was 22 months old. His physician parents founded the nonprofit Progeria Research Foundation after his diagnosis.

Berns became the subject of an HBO documentary, “Life According to Sam.” The exposure has brought greater recognition to the condition, which causes musculoskeletal degeneration, cardiovascular problems and other symptoms associated with aging.

Kraft met the young sports fan and attended the HBO premiere of the documentary in New York in October. Kraft made a $500,000 matching pledge to the foundation.

Berns was invited to a Patriots practice that month, and gave the players an impromptu motivational speech.

Kraft said after Berns’ death that he had invited the teen to be the Patriot’s honorary captain for Saturday night’s playoff game in which they defeated the Indianapolis Colts.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
Comments Tracker