Today was the first day of TEDxMidAtlantic and it was absolutely phenomenal. I’m pretty sure my favorite talk of the day (there were so many and all were incredible by the way) was the one given by the one and only Sam Burns. You may have heard of Sam from his documentary, Life According to Sam,” but if not, he is a 17 year-old who has a rare disease called progeria which has dramatic effects on his aging. Despite all of Sam’s struggles, however, he has possibly the MOST positive outlook and attitude on life that I have ever witnessed. He has such a great sense of humor, is incredibly intelligent, and is seriously such an optimistic and inspiring human being. When he was talking on stage today, everything in the room went away. Everyone was silent, he didn’t have a disease anymore; it was as if everything stood still for a few moments. Sam captured the room with his energy and modesty and his delightful happiness that shines through with everything he says. Sam’s advice went straight into my heart today and I’ll never forget it. He is the living and breathing example of living life to the fullest, without letting anything get in your way. He’s adaptable, he’s wonderful, and he has and will continue to leave a powerful legacy and impact for years to come. Sam, thank you so much for being the beautiful human being and spirit that you are. Thank you for your courage and for your presence on this Earth. Thank you for making the world a better place by being in it, and thank you to you and your family for all of the research and help you have contributed to the world. Thank you so much for speaking today and for impacting everyone in the room and watching online. Thank you for your words and for your actions of honor and bravery. Thank you so much, Sam, for being a beacon of light in our world.