Growing up as a little girl, I used to dream to have a sister. I never thought that I had to wait until I came to college to get 96 of them! During my sophomore year at East Carolina University, one of my roommates told me about a service sorority called Epsilon Sigma Alpha that raised money for St. Jude Children’s Hospital. I never knew that sisterhood was going to change my life as I knew it.
I met lots of people throughout pledging but one girl always stuck out. Her name was Samantha Trost. The first day I met Sam was at our Pledge cook out. She was wearing shorts and I noticed lots of scarring on one of her legs. One of my sisters had the courage to say, “How did you get those scars?” Sam said, “Shark bite”. We all laughed but what we didn’t know then was that she was in remission from bone cancer.
Weeks went by and I got to know Sam. I learned how kind she was. I learned that she was from Virginia Beach and we were the same age. She told me that she was technically a freshman because she had to take a year of school because of cancer treatments. You could tell how happy she was to be away at school. I also learned that she was madly in love with her boyfriend Jordan and he absolutely adored her.
Through the pledging process I was so happy to meet all these amazing girls and be a part of something special. I loved raising money for St. Jude because I knew that money was putting hope in children’s hearts that they were going to get better. It really made me feel good.
My sophomore year seemed to be flying by. I was excited because I was elected to become the new secretary for ESA, and Sam was elected Service chair. I could not wait for junior year.
One Sunday, during our weekly meeting, I looked around the room and I did see Sam there. I found out that her cancer had come back and they had to amputate her leg. Unfortunately, there were some spots in her lungs. I was devastated. Sam had two surgeries and started chemo again.
Sam’s spirits were high and her doctors started her on experimental treatments that seemed really promising. She returned to East Carolina in the fall for classes. Sam came back to the sorority and started her new position. She was back on track!
Around October 2008, the doctors told her that her body was rejecting the treatments. They urged her to leave school and to focus on her health. Sam did not tell us this news for a long time. She continued to come to meetings, smile and be a leader. Finally she had to return home in late November.
I wish I could say this story has a happy ending. It does not. Samantha passed away on Monday, January 19, 2009 surrounded by family.
Samantha did not pass away without seeing her sisters though. A few days before she passed me and ten other sisters went to visit her. When we arrived she was asleep. We spent time with her family, her boyfriend and family friends. They could not express to us enough how excited see was about us coming to see her. Seeing Sam in so much pain was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Each breath she took was a struggle. But, she kept smiling.
I believe in Sisterhood. Samantha Trost has been an inspiration to each and every member of Epsilon Sigma Alpha. The bond that we all share because of what we went through with her will never be forgotten.