“Your life was a blessing, your memory a treasure, you are loved beyond words and missed beyond measure.”

Sam ODonovan

In Loving Memory of Sam O’Donovan

1993- 2011

We are an Irish family of four livingin Wimbledon—myself, Angela; my husband, Frank; and our sons, Sam (dup15q) and Rory. Our beloved Sam died on December 16, 2011, at age 18. His death was sudden and unexpected, and we still don’t know the cause. Sadly, it seemed Sam was one of the more affected individuals with dup15q, with six copies of the chromosome material. Sam was a much loved son and brother, a quiet and gentle person. From the moment he came into our lives, he took us over and life changed for us in new and different ways. Sam loved to be free: out of his wheelchair, able to move about and explore as he pleased or simply to relax. He loved water, both the sound of running water and being in his bath. Hydrotherapy and swimming were two of his most enjoyed activities. It must have been wonderful for him to move freely and weightlessly in the pool or just to feel the warm water. While Sam could not communicate very much, he could show great determination and willpower and could be very clear in his choices. We could also see when he was relaxed or anxious even if we did not know why. One thing that was always clear was that home, particularly his own room, was his “safe place” where he would visibly relax when coming in from the outside world. Sam’s story is one of four; as a family, we have each been affected and come through this in our own ways. Sam has made me the person I am today. Our family life is not typical; it can be eventful and very unpredictable. We have met some wonderful people over the years, made great friends, and enjoyed support from good neighbors. Sam’s funeral Mass was on the morning of Tuesday January 3, an exceptionally wet, stormy day. Rory read one of the Old Testament readings, so beautifully for his special brother, and made us very proud. We are devastated and lonely for Sam but he is now at peace and will live on in our hearts forever.