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Sam Kimura is 24. Her nickname is “Bieber.” She is an artist, an adventurer and most recently, a development coordinator for First Descents. In 2015, Sam and her sister, Alex, traveled to all 50 states to sign up potential bone marrow donors to help people with blood cancer. They formed their nonprofit, Sharing America’s Marrow (or S.A.M. in honor of Sam), in 2014 and are still signing up donors today, though they’re no longer living out of a van. They were inspired to take on this mission after Sam’s own diagnosis of aplastic anemia, a rare bone marrow failure disease, left her searching for a bone marrow donor that could save her life.
Sam is still searching for a matching donor that can cure her disease, but luckily, she was able to undergo an alternative treatment in 2010 that has helped keep her in remission to this day.
Sam and her sister have registered over 24,000 new donors to the bone marrow registry and have found 342 potential matches for patients fighting blood cancers and other blood diseases. To learn more about their journey and to register online as a potential donor, visit sharingamericasmarrow.com.
In her time at First Descents, we have realized that Sam’s artistic skill is far beyond anything she would admit, but as small drawings began to show up here and there, we realized Sam’s talents stretched far beyond fundraising. Sam recently helped create four custom posters for First Descents. Each is done with ink and watercolor and depicts a few of our most classic program destinations: Tarkio, Estes Park, Santa Cruz and Outer Banks.
To purchase one of these limited-edition posters, visit firstdescents.org or Sam’s website, couchpotatocreative.com.