A Maple Springs resident who has undergone 21 surgeries since his birth will celebrate life surrounded by friends and family this weekend.
A spaghetti dinner benefit will be held for Ryan Sampson, a 2006 Maple Grove High School graduate, from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the See-Zurh House in Bemus Point.
The event will include dinner, desserts and drink specials, a silent auction, drawings and live music by Stray Kat Sue, Stay Cool and Forword Motion. Proceeds from the event will serve to help pay for medical expenses that insurance didn't cover. Because Sampson is member of St. Timothy Luthern Church in Bemus Point, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans decided to get involved as well by matching funds by matching one-third of the proceeds up to a total of $1,800.
Sampson, who is the son of Cindy and Mike Sampson, said he was born with several congenital disorders that required him to have surgery the day he was born. In addition to problems with his feet and back, an issue that Sampson continues to deal with today includes an imperforate anus, or anal atresia. The disorder, which can only be corrected via surgery, is a defect of the anus in which Sampson's large intestine was not connected to allow for excretion of waste.
"I've had both my feet and ankles reconstructed and several surgeries on my intestines," said Sampson. "When I was in fifth grade I had a tube put in that would give me control over my bowels by allowing me to flush every two days. That worked for years, but over the last year and a half I've had a lot of pain because I had a rectal abscess the size of a softball and a bunch of fistulas. Fistulas are channels that form where they aren't supposed to be. Mine formed near my spine and caused bubbles. It was also found that I had diverticulitis in other parts of my intestine and colon, which were inflamed pockets forming off the tubes. Due to my past history of 19 surgeries it was one of the most complicated cases. So, they removed the bad part of my colon and gave me a colostomy, and I was in the hospital for almost 40 days before having to go back for another two surgeries."
Although Sampson has already overcome many hardships, there are still more hurdles to jump. He knows that he has at least one more surgery in the near future, but more issues could always arise. However, he said that he has a positive outlook, and will continue moving forward.
"It's ongoing, and I take it one day at a time but, I'm not giving up any time soon," said Sampson. "I've have a lot of experience from working, and I'd like to get back to work. I'd like to get into sales, support and IT. I started studying computer science at Alfred State, but didn't finish due to a surgery. So, I'd like to try to finish off my degree online through the SUNY system."
Sampson said his mother, Cindy, who works at Jamestown Primary Care, has been a pillar of support through his entire life.
"She's been incredible through all of this," said Sampson. "She's been there since day one, at the bedside the entire time and has dedicated her entire life to try to get me well. She is a great mother."
Sampson's uncle, Thom Shagla, is the owner of the See-Zurh House and Shaggy's where the event will be held.
"This event was a combination of efforts between a lot of people who are volunteering," said Shagla. "I decided to get involved to express my concern for their financial situation. We'll be utilizing both Shaggy's upstairs and the See-Zurh House for the function. We hope to get a lot of people in to support the function so that we can help them make things a little easier."
Debra Daniels, Family Nurse Practitioner for Jamestown Primary Care, helped organize and sponsor the event because she said Shagla is her dad's best friend and is like a second father to her.
"They are really struggling, and there are certainly so many of us who are very blessed, so we need to do something to try and help them," said Daniels. "Our hope is to try to get them back on track by getting all his medical bills paid up so that they can start fresh and hopefully be in a better place."
Sampson said he is greatly looking forward to the event, and feels honored that the community would rally around him in this manner.
"Everybody has their issues, whether it mental, physical or financial, everybody has something and I think people forget that," said Sampson. "I'm just grateful that I'm upright, walking and talking. It's incredible that they are throwing this benefit for me, and it is a good, fun way for everybody to come hang out and spend a Sunday."
Tickets to the benefit are $8 pre-sale from Jamestown Primary Care, the See-Zurh House and Tom's Tavern. Tickets are $10 at the door and children under 10 are $5. The See-Zurh House restaurant is located at 14 Main St. in Bemus Point. Those who cannot make it to the benefit, but still wish to help, can mail donations to P.O. Box 139, Maple Springs, NY 14756. For more information call Sampson at 450-7074, the See-Zurh House restaurant at 386-2695 or visit www.seezurhhouse.com.