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samTuesday, March 8, 2016 marks the one-year anniversary of my good friend Sam Simon’s untimely death at age 59. Sam may be gone, but I will never forget his wit, great humor and incredible acts of kindness.

Sam, co-creator of The Simpsons television show, learned that he had late-stage colon cancer in 2012 and was told by doctors he had three to six months to live. Sam vowed to make the most of every day he had left, and focused all of his energy into easing the suffering of both humans and animals.

He created the Sam Simon Foundation to find new homes for death-row dogs, and the Feeding Families program to feed hungry families nutritious, vegan meals.

Sam purchased entire roadside zoos and circuses – which house animals in sickening conditions and train with violent, painful methods -- and sent the animals to sanctuaries. He wanted to see the animals walk on grass for the first time in their lives.

Sam also donated generously to animal rights organizations -- including LCA, which formed the Sam Simon Special Investigations Unit in 2014. The unit conducts undercover investigations of factory farms, slaughterhouses and other cruel facilities to expose and stop animal abuse.

In honor of Sam’s boundless philanthropy, I presented him with the Albert Schweitzer Award at LCA’s 30-year-anniversary gala in 2014; the following year, after Sam’s death, I created LCA’s Sam Simon Award which will be given annually to people who show extraordinary compassion for animals.

Sam lived for almost three years beyond the date predicted by his doctors, and has called those the best years of his life because he spent them helping others. Still, his death came far too soon. On the anniversary of his passing, let us remember Sam and all of his work in creating a more compassionate world.

Each week since my dear friend Sam’s death, I visit him at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles. This week’s visit will have a special meaning.

Sam, you are missed.

 

Chris DeRose

Founder and President

Last Chance for Animals (LCA)

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