NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - At 15 years years old, Sammy Owen has been through more than most people have in their entire lives. As an infant, he was not expected to live, but now he is bringing smiles to everyone he meets.
In 2002, Sammy was born in South Texas, and at only 6 months old, he was diagnosed with brain cancer. His tumor was by the brain stem, and it caused hydrocephalus, a condition in which fluid accumulates in the brain. His head would swell to an abnormal size. While going through this, Sammy was given up for adoption. Both of his parents were considered special needs, and the decision was made that they could not tend to his medical needs.
He was fostered by Gina Owen and her husband. Owen said the early years were not easy.
"We were called by the Lutheran group about this young child, and I was told he was not really sick," Gina said. "I went to see him, and there he was. the nurse told us that he would need shots everyday. I don't do shots. My husband doesn't either. I called him and said we can't do this, but he said it was God's plan, and we would figure it out, so we did."
Soon after taking him in, The Owen family realized how hard it was going to be.
"They didn't expect him to walk, talk or nothing," Gina Owen said. "They didn't even think he would survive."
While they were preparing for the worst, Ashley Owen was bonding with Sammy.
"I always wanted a little brother," Ashley Owen said.
By the age of two, he would beat cancer. He would also start to learn mobility and motor skills many take for granted.
"You sit there, and you're like,'My struggles are absolutely nothing when a child at one year old has so much hope that he can sit there and be as sick as sick can be from chemo and then just turn around and smile as soon as it is done,'" Sammy's older sister said. "You realize your struggles are absolutely nothing."
It took 10 years for Sammy to officially be adopted. In all that time, Gina knew what the court finally determined.
"I am his mom, and we are all that he knows," his mother said. "He doesn't know anyone else but us."
The adoption also made the bond official between Sammy and Ashley.
"I love my sister," Sammy said. "I love going with my sister and staying the night at my sister's house. I love going and playing with my nephew."
Sammy is like any other kid. He likes to read, loves the music of Michael Jackson, and is even in school. If you ask him about school, he will tell you it is not always fun, but he loves his class and teacher. Sammy is also a big fan of "My Little Pony." He watches the show enough that he can name the voice actors by name and even has his favorites.
"I like Twilight Sparkle," Sammy said. "I like Tara Strong."
Above all else, he loves to bring smiles to everyone he meets.
"People can learn that you can be nice to everybody," Ashley Owen said. "This world has come to a place where I personally wish it hadn't. He goes around ensuring everyone is happy around him and not worried about himself. "