Full text and summary of Sam Berns’ talk titled “My Philosophy for a Happy Life” at TEDxMidAtlantic conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Hello everyone. I’m Sam, and I just turned 17. A few years ago, before my freshman year in High School, I wanted to play snare drum in the Foxboro High School Marching Band, and it was a dream that I just had to accomplish. But each snare drum and harness weighed about 40 pounds each, and I have a disease called Progeria.
So just to give you an idea, I weigh only about 50 pounds. So, logistically, I really couldn’t carry a regular sized snare drum, and because of this the band director assigned me to play pit percussion during the halftime show.
Now pit percussion was fun. It involved some really cool auxiliary percussion instruments, like the bongos, timpani, and timbales, and cowbell. So it was fun, but it involved no marching, and I was just so devastated.
However, nothing was going to stop me from playing snare drum with the marching band in the halftime show. So my family and I worked with an engineer to design a snare drum harness that would be lighter, and easier for me to carry.
So after continuous work, we made a snare drum apparatus that weighs only about 6 pounds.
I just want to give you some more information about Progeria. It affects only about 350 kids today, worldwide. So it’s pretty rare, and the effects of Progeria include: tight skin, lack of weight gain, stunted growth, and heart disease.
Last year my Mom and her team of scientists published the first successful Progeria Treatment Study, and because of this I was interviewed on NPR.