I recently designed this logo. It looks childish, I know. That’s actually on purpose, and a lot of thought and love went into it.
This is a logo for an eight year old boy. A very special eight year old boy who I have never met in person but whom I feel I’ve gotten to know through his parents’ eyes and hearts the past year and a half.
I’ve been following Sam’s story since he first got sick with AML (leukemia) at age 6, on http://supermansamuel.blogspot.com/. I knew his mom Phyllis from social media for a few years already. She and her husband Michael chose to share Sammy’s story with thousands of people across the globe — the ups, the downs, the chemo, the visits and letters from loved ones and famous ones, the precious visits home, the Angry Birds games and the walking laps around the hospital, the sword fights with nurses, and the importance of Mom’s macaroni and cheese. We––me and thousands of people who have been carrying him in their hearts and prayers––have gotten to know his kooky, clever sense of humor and of his love of turtles and other reptiles.
Over that time period Sammy’s gone through chemo, had remission, relapsed, had chemo again, and some 100 days ago had a bone marrow transplant that looked like it was going to go very well. It was the best news ever.
Heartbreakingly, the transplant did not take. The doctors say there is nothing more they can do. While I stubbornly remain in denial, waiting for a miracle, his family does their utmost to live every day as a family, and as meaningfully and lovingly as they possibly can under these circumstances.
I am constantly amazed at his parents’ strength and grace, and how Sam’s mom, even now, is moving forward with the 36Rabbis Shave for the Brave project even though doctors say there is nothing more they can do for her own son. I marvel at her ability to care so deeply about others at a time of such struggle. I had designed a logo for “Superman Sam” back when he first got sick, and so when Phyllis asked me, via a mutual friend, if I’d be willing to design a logo for this “shavathon” project, I was immensely touched and honored.
There are esoteric meanings in the Hebrew letters and the “36” in the new logo — meanings that point to righteous people, good deeds, saving the world, and life. You can read more about those below.*
But ultimately, I designed this logo for Sam.
Sam loves turtles, super heroes and the colors green, blue and purple, and from the beginning I envisioned a turtle that also encompassed the shape of a heart, in addition to the more esoteric symbols. I wanted it to look like something an 8-year-old fan of super heroes might like. I made it for Sam.
* The Talmud says that in every generation there are 36 righteous people who greet the Divine Presence. although no one knows who they are, not even the themselves. The two Hebrew letters for 36 are the lamed, which is equivalent to the number 30, and the vav, which is 6. Also, 36 is twice 18. In gematria (a form of Jewish numerology), the number 18 stands for “life”, because the Hebrew letters that spell chai, meaning “living”, add up to 18. In supporting the fight against childhood cancer, “36” stands for life.
Update December 14: With so much sadness, I’m sharing Phyllis’ blog post on Sammy’s passing early this morning after midnight. No parent should go through this. If the 36Rabbis project can prevent even one more child’s death from cancer it will be worth it.
Update December 26: T-shirts with this logo, to support the #36Rabbis effort, are now available. Choose from men’s, woemen’s relaxedkids’, or a nice warm hoodie at http://teespring.com/36rabbis.