Sam Allred finalist for Spirit of Youth Award


by Jessica Gruenling

ANCHORAGE, Ak-- One valley non profit is now up for a Spirit of Youth award. The organization and it's founder celebrate overcoming challenges. 

Meet Sam Allred, a boy with a big ambition. 


When same was three, he was diagnosed with IGM, a rare kidney disease where the immune system attacks the kidneys. In December he was diagnosed with another illness, AVM.


“That’s why I need to take a drug called pregonozone, which helps my immune system work properly,” Sam Allred.


For Sam, staying healthy comes with side effects not every 14 year old boyd would dig. 


“Like the rounded face like I have now and I’m a lot shorter than my age ---there’s a lot of side effects weak bones and weak joints,” Sam.


This is not your typical teenager. Same ses life as a glass that's half full. 


“Chronic illness they are draining, they can be debilitating, it can be very discouraging, but I think it’s a choice to decide how you want to respond to it,” Angie Allred.


In his battle through the disease and numerous visits to the hospital sam has only responded to it in a positive way. 


“We can reach out to others and be kind and that’s what Sam has chosen to do and that makes me feel good because it’s better to choose faith over fear,” Angie. 


Inspired by an act of kindess that was shown to him during one of his hosptial stays, Sam created Project Comfort. 


“I was really sick in there and I received a pillow. It meant a lot to me personally just thinking of other people thinking about us while we’re in there, and so that’s kind of how it got started I want other kids to feel that way,” Sam. 


With the help of his mom, friends, and many organization they have sewn and sent out nearly 4,000 travel sized pillows to children's hospitals across the United States.


"It makes me feel really good. I’m just giving them more comfort while they’re in there," Sam.


His kind acts and leadership don't stop there, Sam has also wrote a book called "Open Hearts," 


"It's pretty much about my life or just about any kind of sick kid of what they might be going through on a daily basis, and so just about taking pills every day and going through of people judging you," Sam. 


Like many shy teenages, Sam doesn't like to about it, but a YouTube video helped raise awareness for his non profit.


"It got me out there."


Now, he has received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and was invited to speak at the Hugh O'brien Youth Leadership. 


They’re just so compassionate they want to do more of just brining good to the world and so I just hope there’s more people like them in the world," Sam


Sam has a bigger vision for his non profit that goes beyond just mkaing pillows and straight into the digital age. 


"I’m actually hoping that I’ll be able to give newer game systems for the hospitals, newer game systems, newer movies and just toys and pretty much everything just because of how many times I’ve been hospitalized and seeing all the stuff they have there is old," Sam. 


From the pillow to the pages, this one teenager is just getting started on changing the world. 

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