I did not know Samantha well. She was a gymnast, a RRHS student, a friend to many. One of my TV Production students was so impressed with her fortitude and grace that he created a 7 minute documentary about her in 2006. Oh! Did I mention that she was paralyzed from the neck down from a fall during a gymnastic routine in 2005? That she continued to pursue her studies, be optimistic about her future, and attempt to lead a normal life? She did not use her frailty as an excuse. She did not let it define her. And now she is no longer here. I learned of her death on Facebook, from a loving friend who was devastated by her quietly passing in the night. This seemed so out of character for Samantha, who was a fighter when it came to living. She fought for every breath and every moment on this earth. Yet she had a quiet persona, always loving and friendly with all she met and knew. Can you say the same about your life? Do you enjoy everything about your life? Or do you simply breathe and live each day like every other day, or complain that life could be better?
All of us need someone like Samantha in our life. Unfortunately, the one, the only, the best Samantha I knew – Samantha Slusak of New Port Richey – is no longer a living, breathing reminder that life is worth living and fighting for, and in the quiet moment, worth enjoying and loving. She is now a spirit, and her spirit will continue to inspire me to live life to the fullest.
Links from Samantha’s past: