The Sam Day Foundation reflects the spirit of Sam Day by choosing to Dream Big, Laugh Often, and Live well.


Sam taught us to dream big and to be crazy enough to pursue our dreams.
  • We dream of raising the survival rates for rare pediatric cancers.
  • We dream of multiplying the treatment options for young people with cancer.
  • We dream of well funded research and attention for cancers that have previously been forgotten.
  • We dream of cancer treatments that don’t cause life-long impairments, infertility, and high risk for other cancers.


Cancer is brutal. Life is hard. That is our reality. Laughter is essential for the human spirit to survive the brutality of pediatric cancer.
  • Our events will explode with fun and humor.
  • Our donors will surprise kids with adventures like summer camps, surf trips and vintage plane rides.  
  • Our stories will remember the best of Sam and other young people who left us far too soon.
  • Our community will make some noise and demand change so kids with cancer can dream, laugh, and live.


Above all, kids need to Live Well.
  • Kids with cancer will not just live, they will thrive.
  • Kids with cancer will be healthy and nourished.
  • Kids with cancer will be remembered and included.
  • Kids with cancer will know, we won’t give up on them.

Why We Fight

An orphan disease is a disease affecting less than 200,000 people in the US at any one time. Osteosarcoma is the most common type of sarcoma cancer, affecting 800 young people every year.

Leukemia, the most common type of pediatric cancer, has a 90% cure rate. But orphan cancers like Ewing Sarcoma, have not seen changes in treatments in over 30 years.

Orphan cancers get very little funding from pharmaceutical companies to fund research for better treatments. Yet 276 young people die every day from cancer.

Because orphan cancers affect less than 200,000 people per year, large drug companies don’t find financial incentive to invest in new drug exploration for pediatric cancers. Funding needs to come from private donations like ours.

Research Priorities

The Sam Day Foundation funds medical and nutritional research for rare childhood, adolescent and young adult cancers. SDF recognizes the deficit in resources and attention toward rare childhood cancers and subsequently, the very limited treatment options for young people diagnosed with rare cancer.

What We Fund

Sam Day Foundation is interested in innovative research projects with a high likelihood of moving exciting discoveries forward into clinical trials. SDF gravitates toward translational and clinical research on solid tumor cancers (such as sarcomas and brain cancers) that are less toxic than standard chemotherapy regimens. SDF seeks to fund research with reasonable potential to improve survival rates for young people with rare and aggressive cancers.  Researchers who are driven to provide better treatment for young people who have little to no curative options are prioritized.

Grants range from $20,000 to $150,000 per year.


Sam Day Foundation awards scholarships to Sunset High School students in Beaverton Oregon, who have endured chronic illness or physical disability and choose to live well despite their challenges. Read here for more information and contact the Sunset High School Career Center for application details. Applications are due May 1st of each year.

Our Impact

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In January of 2019, Sam Day Foundation granted $125,000 to the Children’s Cancer Therapy Development Institute for an innovative and comprehensive tumor bank program. The program will be managed and overseen by Scientific Director Dr. Charles Keller, and researcher Andy Woods.

A shortage of mouse models and cancer cell lines is one reason why rare cancer groups struggle to make progress in research. The CuReFAST program enables patients to donate their tumor to the scientific community for advancements in research to occur, by developing new mouse models and cancer cell lines representive of the aggressive tumors kids are dealing with today.  In addition, cc-TDI will screen the tissue for potential impact with 60 existing drugs, collect medical information (such as what drugs the tumor has been exposed to), and run DNA and RNA sequencing on each live tissue donation. Once processed, the information and materials will be available for researchers both locally and around the world to move basic science discoveries through to the next phase of research. The comprehensive nature of this tumor bank, combined with advocacy from rare cancer groups will open doors for a world of possibilities and reasons to hope.

For more information on cc-TDI and the CuReFAST program, read here:

For cc-TDI researcher bio’s read here:

You Can Support Our Mission. Donate Today!

Our Community

Anyone can make a difference!

We need event planners and volunteers, corporate sponsors, and donors of all levels. We need people of all ages, strengths and circumstances. All you need is a spirit of hope and a desire to fight for kids who have cancer. Leave us your information and we’ll get you plugged in!