Why the Internet is helping this woman find her identity
If you were asked to introduce yourself and talk a little bit about who you are, you’d probably list off your name, where you’re from, your family members, and a few hobbies. In one of the most crazy (and heartbreaking) reports ever, one woman has had all of this taken away from her after decades of living. And the Internet is coming together to help her get it back.
On February 1, police found Sam, who is battling stage 3 ovarian cancer, barely conscious in the streets of a small beach community in Carlsbad, California. She had a rare case of amnesia that has stripped away her identity. She does not know where she’s from, who her family is, or even what her name is — she chose ‘Sam’ because of the biblical book of Samuel. Doctors estimate that she’s roughly 50 years old and that her amnesia was caused by the antibodies of a large, malignant tumor.
“I just feel like there’s a thick fog over my mind, my memory, over my brain that I can’t see through,” Sam told NBC New York. “I can’t remember anything — how I got here. I didn’t have anything on me, no jewelry, no purse, nothing.”
Sam has a thick accent — many are debating whether it’s an Australian accent or an English accent with an Australian twang — and she uses words like “bloke” to mean “man” and “loo” to mean “bathroom,” reports NBC. She has been having vivid dreams that doctors believe can help amnesiac patients regain lost memories and connections. “I started dreaming of Australia,” Sam told NBC. “That was my first recollection of anything. I was in a lap pool. I’d have these incessant dreams. I’ve probably had six or seven dreams initially of lap swimming.”
Sam feels a strong connection with the city of Perth, and she has vague memories of swimming, scuba diving, and sailing. She believes she has been to Hawaii “many, many times.” Her dreams have also featured a man who she believes she was in love with. “I wonder about his name. I can’t ever get the name in my dream cause I really want to know, but I know there was someone,” Sam said.
The FBI took her fingerprints and has been using facial recognition software to help Sam figure out who she is. And now, social media is searching to help Sam find her identity. A Facebook page dedicated to helping Sam find her family has over 20,000 likes, and a page on an international police information sharing website has also been created for Sam. The story has been covered all over the globe, and Australian news outlets have picked up the story in hopes that her family is, indeed, in Australia.
The Facebook page, created by friends Sam has made at the hospital, is dedicated to finding Sam’s identity posted a picture of her explaining her situation. They posted the following picture, explaining Sam’s plight in the caption. “She cannot recall her name or names of any family or friends,” the caption read. “This is where we need your help! Please share this FB page to everyone you know, especially Australia, England and Hawaii.”
The image has since been shared over 75,000 times, with people all over the world commenting to say they’ve shared — from Australia to Sweden to Canada.
“I literally love the [friends I] have gotten close to through these months and will always be enormously grateful for their caring,” Sam writes in the About Me section of the Facebook page. “I continue to trust in God for everything and that God is seeing me through this cancer diagnosis and the pain that comes with that.”
The story has also been trending on Facebook. “I’m hoping that someone sees me, or [the NBC story] or something on the Internet,” Sam told NBC, “and my family immediately says, ‘There she is! There she is!'”
This story is totally heartbreaking for so many reasons, but we also love that the world is working together to find the family of this woman that has been through so much physical and emotional pain. Let’s find Sam’s family and get her home where she belongs.