Community celebrates local boy who’s beating cancer

Friends, family, superheroes, a piñata and three-time Grammy nominee Brady Rymer — all were present at Greenport’s Herzog Park Monday night to celebrate Sam. 

Sam is Sam Duffy, a 7-year-old boy who has spent the last 3 1/2 years battling leukemia, which he has now done successfully, according to his mom, Holly Lanzetta. 

She received permission from Greenport Village earlier this month to throw a party at the beach and park between 5th and 6th streets to celebrate Sam’s positive prognosis and everyone was invited. It was a potluck dinner to which people brought dishes for everyone to share. 

Ms. Lanzetta said “hundreds of people” have helped her and her son. 

“So many in this community have come out and really saved Sam and me through this whole journey,” she said. 

A former Greenport resident, Ms. Lanzetta now lives in Southold. 

Sam and his mother Holly Lanzetta at the Monday night celebration. (Tim Gannon photo)

The party had soccer, a piñata (at which Sam got first crack), music by Brady Rymer of Southold, a few guys running around dressed as Captain America, Superman and Spider-Man — and even swimming at the beach. 

“This is exactly what I wanted,” said Ms. Lanzetta, who was dressed as Catwoman. “To see everyone getting to know one another. It’s so cool to see so many walks of life, and so many different groups of people. I want to say how grateful I am that everyone came out and so many donated to make this happen … I can’t thank this community enough.”

She said she plans to start a foundation to benefit kids with cancer.

It will be called “Sam’s Heroes” and will arrange for superheroes to visit kids in hospitals and help youngsters who might not be able to get costumes to do so. 

The idea came from Sam, a fan of superheroes.

Sam has endured 25 spinal taps, as well as chemotherapy, and still has to take pills every day that often wear him down, Ms. Lanzetta said. 

“For him to be as cool as he is, after everything he’s gone through, to be still smiling … I’m super proud of the attitude he’s had through this whole thing,” his mother said in a brief speech to those in attendance.

Sam, meanwhile, couldn’t wait to get to that piñata.

Photo caption: The community came out to celebrate Sam (center, holding soccer ball). (Tim Gannon photo) 

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