Samantha Michelle Loewi (Sammy), was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy at 18 months of age. During her short 22 years, she was a remarkable teacher in life lessons. She spoke up often and loudly for others who were “different.”
Often ignored in high school, she, like many other young people with physical, intellectual and medical challenges, simply wanted the world to look past what made them “different” and listen—really listen—to who they are and what they have to offer. A medaled swimmer in national disability competitions, an accomplished pianist, saxophonist, artist, photographer, and MDA spokesperson, Sammy was a passionate activist on behalf of all people who are different.
Sammy valued all people and encouraged us to look past the differences and discover the talent, insight, courage, humor, wisdom, passion, tenacity, and joy of all individuals with disabilities.
When Sammy was in the fourth grade, her class at Graland Country Day School in Denver was searching for a community project. Sammy suggested creating a Special Olympics Day. As the only student at the school in a wheelchair because of her muscular dystrophy, Sammy wanted her classmates to be exposed to students with different abilities and realize that “kids are just kids,” no matter their challenges. Twenty years later, that one-day event has evolved into Sammy’s Buddy Program, pairing able-bodied students with their differently-abled peers. The program is currently running in eight schools in Colorado, seven schools in Utah and is growing each year.