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...helping navigate cancer survivorship

Samantha Watson


Samantha Watson began her 16-year career as a health advocate at age 21 when she was diagnosed with cancer. She is the Founder and CEO of The Samfund, a Boston-based nonprofit organization uniquely designed to support young adults in their financial recovery from cancer treatment.

Sam created The Samfund in 2003 after her own battle with cancer (diagnosed in 1999 with Ewing’s Sarcoma and in 2001 with secondary Myelodysplastic Syndrome). Upon returning to Boston after treatment and integrating back into the “real world,” she saw how little support there was for young adults who were struggling once treatment ended. As she quickly came to learn, cancer isn’t free. By providing direct financial assistance as well as free online support and education, The Samfund helps young adults move forward towards their personal, professional, and educational goals. Over the years, Sam has evolved into a passionate thought leader and leading expert in the personal finances of young adult cancer survivors.

During her career, Sam has simultaneously held the position of Adjunct Lecturer in the undergraduate Sociology of Disability class at Brandeis University, and speaks regularly at cancer-related symposiums, conferences and hospitals including The Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She is a contributor of articles in the oncology space, and her story of survival is highlighted in Jim Rendon’s book Upside: The New Science of Post-Traumatic Growth (2015).

Sam holds a BA from Brandeis University and an MBA in Nonprofit Management from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management and is currently an Adjunct Lecturer at Brandeis University. She resides outside of Boston, MA with her husband, two young children and dog, Bella.

Topics: Adoption; Family Building; Financial Impact of Cancer; and Survivor Experiences.

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