By Emily Williams
Though it has been nearly a decade since cancer took the life of Sam Lapidus at the age of 14, his memory lives on through the service work of others.
In addition to a yearly run, his name is immortalized through the annual Jam for Sam event, which will take place Aug. 26 at Red Hills Brewery in Homewood.
The event is organized by the Birmingham chapter of the B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, an international Jewish youth organization, of which Sam was a devoted member.
The organization’s Birmingham home is the Levite Jewish Community Center, a place that was like a second home to Sam.
According to Sam’s father, Billy Lapidus, the event is the perfect representation of his son’s love of music, friends and family.
Through Jam for Sam, the organization raises funds for its yearly programming as well as for the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders, where Sam received treatment.
“It means so much to us that the proceeds from this great celebration go toward finding a cure for childhood cancer,” Billy said. “Children’s of Alabama means the world to the Lapidus family, and we are so thrilled and grateful that Children’s will benefit.”
Diagnosed at the age of nine, Sam battled Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of pediatric bone cancer, for almost six years.
“Sam could not have made it through his six years of living with cancer and all the treatments had it not been for the LJCC, where he spent as much time as he could, working out and hanging out with his many friends there,” Billy added.
Just before he turned 15, Lapidus passed away. To honor his life, one of his friends from the LJCC gym, Bruce Sokol, renamed its annual Montclair Run in his honor.
Jam for Sam became a way for Sam’s classmates and fellow youth group members to celebrate his life and support the organizations that did so much to support him throughout his illness.
According to Mesch AZA President Jack Steinmetz, Vice-president Sam Estreicher and member Matt Hamilton – this year’s Jam4Sam organizers – the opportunity to continue hosting the event has allowed Sam’s legacy to live on within the youth group.
Jam for Sam will feature a variety of local Birmingham bands and will be held from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 26. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door.
For more information, visit the “Jam 4 Sam” Facebook page.