VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Twelve-year-old Sam Sachs is a survivor.
"He is just an amazing kid. Sam does things I would never imagine," said Jenny Sachs.
About a year ago, Sam started feeling a little down in the dumps.
"I was really tired, really nauseous, really cold and had trouble breathing," said Sam.
"We were told if he didn’t get to the hospital soon, he might not make it through the weekend," said Jenny Sachs, Sam's mother.
After an abrupt doctor's visit and some blood work, Sam was diagnosed with T-cell leukemia.
"His white blood cell count was 10 times what it should have been," said Jenny.
Sam was rushed to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters, where he'd spend several weeks.
"Well, I thought I was gonna die, and that's not fun," said Sam.
"It's your worst nightmare. I just wanted answers and told everything was gonna be OK," said Jenny.
The Sachs family of three clung together through the biggest fight of their lives.
COVID-19 presented challenges for visitation during Sam's time in ICU and the cancer ward.
"He was in constant pain. I have never witnessed that kind of pain," said Jenny.
But when Sam got better, he started roaming the halls. Sam says he noticed a common theme: children battling illnesses alone, unlike him.
"I started thinking I would do a lot to help these kids be with their parents, and I felt I wouldn’t be able to fight anymore if my parents were not there with me," he said.
That's how Sam's Warriors was born.
Sam gets people to take pies to the face while making a donation to help families be together during these lengthy hospital stays. He calls it the Pie Face Challenge.
"There may be people that can't get paid time off, so I am planning to use that money for that money for babysitting and for gas for them," he said.
Sam has raised close to $30,000 for his efforts.
"It makes me feel really good, like I am helping people," said Sam.
Sam says this has shown him it's not, "Why me? Why did I get cancer?" but now it's, "Why not me?"
"I feel like now I know why, and I can help other kids," he said.
He has the gratitude, compassion, empathy and the will not only to fight but to pay it forward.
For more on how you can help Sam's Warriors and participate in the Pie Face Challenge, click here.
This story was originally published by Chelsea Donovan at WTKR.