Our guest today was Mike Neeley’s wife Cheryl.  She joined us from the car as she and Mike were driving through Wisconsin Dells on their way to Florida.
President Ed James’ Quote of the Day: "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day"
―Edith Lovejoy Pierce
Important Dates for January 5th, 2021:
     January 12, 2021– Peter Spencer - North American Bear Center
January 19, 2021(Tuesday Club Meeting) – Jothsna Harris - Climate Generation - A Will Steger Legacy - Climate Generation helps empower individuals and communities on how to engage in solutions to climate change.
Our presenter today was Samantha (Sammy) Brown, a children’s book publicist in New York City.  Sammy was a close friend of Zach Sobiech, the Stillwater H.S. student whose battle with bone cancer ended with his passing in 2013 at the age of 18.  Zach was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at age 14 and, despite several surgeries and months of chemotherapy, the cancer spread and he was told in 2012 that he had only months to live.  Zach had always had a positive and uplifting effect on those around him and his diagnosis did nothing to diminish that.  Sammy described him as always present and engaging with others and always having a smile on his face.  Zach chose to embrace every day with hope and joy.  One of the ways that Zach embraced life was through music.  Zach and Sammy, along with Reed Redmond, formed a band called A Firm Handshake.  The band dissolved after Zach’s passing but Sammy still writes and performs.  
In 2012, KS95 Radio invited Zach to appear in their KS95 for Kids Radiothon. Zach partnered with KS95 to record “Clouds” with professional musicians. People magazine picked up the story and the song went viral with more than 2 million views on YouTube, eventually topping the Billboard charts!  Every year since 2013, the song has been featured in a Clouds Choir sing-along at the annual Radiothon event, with as many as 5,000 people joining voices at the Mall of America, helping to raise millions for childhood cancer and other childhood illnesses.
 Zach’s family also started the Zach Sobiech Osteosarcoma Fund, now called Zach’s Movement, which has raised nearly 2.5 million dollars, 100% of which goes to osteosarcoma research.  Laura Sobiech has also published a book about her son’s life entitled Fly a Little Higher: How God Answered a Mom’s Small Prayer.
Captivated by Zach’s story, filmmaker Justin Baldoni made a documentary titled My Last Days.  Baldoni’s dream was eventually to do a feature film about Zach’s story.  In October of 2020, the dream became reality when “Clouds” was released by Disney.  It’s available for streaming on Disney+.  Zach and Sammy are pictured below.