In Memory of a Very Special Little Girl


CATEGORY: Philanthropy; News and Community

​In a perfect world, no parent would ever have to experience the serious illness or death of a child. But unfortunately, sometimes the unimaginable does happen.

For families coping with a child’s life-threatening condition, Hospice of the Western Reserve’s Pediatric Palliative Care team enhances the child's quality of life, helps parents make informed decisions about treatment options and provides ongoing support to address psychological, spiritual, emotional and practical needs.

The Samuels family of Avon Lake was faced with this situation when their five-year-old daughter, Piper, developed Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of pediatric bone cancer. When the cancer continued to rapidly proliferate despite an aggressive regimen of treatments, they chose to focus on their daughter’s quality of life. They believed she’d rather be happy at home than sick in the hospital. Because of the existence of Hospice of the Western Reserve’s Pediatric Palliative Care program,Piper was able to come home to be with her family and friends.

A few days after arriving home, Piper did what would be considered normal for any six- year-old. She played outside with a gang of playmates. For her mom, seeing this confirmed the family’s decision to bring her home. “For the first time since her surgery, Piper went outside for a little fun on the playground. She was comfortable, and so happy to be home,” said Kari Samuels.


Piper was loved and adored by her family, friends, teachers, community and medical staff for her warrior spirit, courage, compassion and beauty. She was a ray of sunshine. Through her illness, she inspired thousands of people with her grace, strength and bright beautiful smile.

Piper died peacefully in her parents' arms, surrounded by members of her extended family in August 2017. When the news broke in Piper’s hometown of Avon Lake, hundreds of pink ribbons suddenly appeared everywhere, tied around trees all over the city. It was an expression of the community’s deep love and shared grief for the little girl, and their support for the Samuels family.

Piper Samuels Endowment Fund Established to Support Other Families

Friends of Piper's family, including the colleagues of Piper's dad, Kevin, felt it appropriate to establish the Piper Samuels Pediatric Hospice Endowment
Fund in memory of Piper, who benefited from Hospice of the Western Reserve's care. Funding sources include the Cleveland office of the Jones Day law firm, individual Jones Day partners, lawyers and staff and the Jones Day Foundation.

“Initial gifts from Jones Day Cleveland, the Jones Day Foundation and employees of Jones Day total nearly $400,000. We are so grateful for this significant, impactful endowment. It will go a long way toward establishing a permanent funding stream for Hospice of the Western Reserve's Pediatric Palliative Care program,” said Racheal Seibert, Chief Development Officer.

“We created the endowed fund as a meaningful way to remember Piper,” said William Herzberger, a Partner at JonesDay and Hospice of the Western Reserve board member. “We want to ensure these specialized services are available for other families who find themselves in similar situations. It is our hope that this fund will continue to grow. We encourage others in the community to support this important need.”

If you wish to contribute in Piper’s memory, please contact Racheal Seibert at 216.383.3736 or via email at Contributions may also be made online at

We Can Help

Speak with the referral team by contacting us seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Any first visit and admission can be made the first day.

Northern Ohio's Hospice of Choice

More than 1,000 Hospice of the Western Reserve employees and 3,000 volunteers live and work side-by-side in the same neighborhoods with our patients and families. We are privileged to have cared for more than 100,000 Northern Ohioans since our inception.