A “Giant” Among Men

Friendship Circle volunteer Sam Prince had the honor of announcing the New York Giants first round draft pick live from Las Vegas during the NFL draft.

Sam, pumping his fists in the air and energizing the audience, won the crowd over with his enthusiasm. Eli Manning tweeted later, “My boy Sam won the draft last night.” His enthusiasm also earned himself a spot to help anchor the NFL Network’s draft show to offer his commentary.

A lifelong Giants fan who plans a career in sport broadcasting, Sam’s dream of participating in the draft pick was made possible this week through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Sam has been a longtime star at Friendship Circle. The 19-year-old from North Caldwell was born with multiple congenital heart defects, received a heart transplant in 2011. He has been part of the FCNJ family since 2006.

Sam’s medical challenges deprived him of the most basic childhood pleasures. He spent the formative years of his youth unable to ride a bike, run around a playground, or attend other kids’ birthday parties. He received weekly visits from local teens through Friendship Circle’s Friends at Home program, a “birthday-in-a-box” when he was too sick for a birthday party, and hot meals delivered when he was in the hospital.

His energy and passion have always been infectious, said Rabbi Zalman Grossbaum, CEO of Friendship Circle, who recalled the same show-stopping energy in 2016, when he served as host for the annual gala at the age of 13.

That night, he related his own personal story as a heart recipient and how important FC is to him, “I am so thankful for the priceless gift of life given to me, but when you think about it, shouldn’t we all be thankful for the priceless gifts of life, of love, of family, of community?” He added, “That’s what tonight is all about! It’s about giving back. It’s about giving with your heart. Giving of your time, your energy—and yes, your money—so that children with special needs can know that they are never excluded, and they are never alone.”

“We’ve been so lucky to be on the receiving end of Sam’s exuberance all these years,” said Rabbi Grossbaum. “It’s amazing to see his spirit soar on the world stage, and we couldn’t be happier for Sam in this moment.”

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