It’s fitting that Sumie Sakai is billed as “Women of Honor’s Ray of Sunshine,” because the Japanese wrestling star is doing all she can to brighten up the life of a special 9-year-old girl from Philadelphia.
This past July, young Samarra Pirrong -- Sammy for short -- was diagnosed with stage IV Wilms Tumor, a type of cancer that starts in the kidneys. Over the past several months, Sammy has undergone multiple surgeries in which her tumors and right kidney were removed and a feeding tube was inserted. She’s also endured chemotherapy and radiations treatments and had about 30 blood transfusions.
Sakai found out about Sammy on Twitter and reached out to her. Sakai has visited Sammy at her home and at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and she keeps in touch with Sammy and her mother via text messages.
“I have friends who are fighting cancer in Japan, but unfortunately I cannot go there to visit them,” said Sakai, who resides in the Northeast. “But I can go see Sammy. I found out she lives in Philly, and I wanted to go see her and tell her that I am cheering for her and thinking of her. When I visited Sammy at the hospital she was not feeling good, but she gave me a gorgeous smile.”
At the Final Battle pay-per-view Dec. 15 in New York City and ROH’s International TV Taping Dec. 16 in Philadelphia, Sakai and Ring of Honor star Cheeseburger -- Sammy’s favorite wrestler -- will be raising money to help Sammy’s family with medical and other expenses by selling “Sammy Strong” bracelets at the merchandise table and offering a meet and greet picture for $5. All of the proceeds go directly to Sammy and her family.
The last time ROH was in Philadelphia for a live event, in October, Sakai arranged for Sammy and her family to be her guests at the show and meet all the stars of ROH.
“I don’t have family in the USA, but ROH is my family and my home, and Sammy is my family, too,” Sakai said.“I wanted to invite Sammy and introduce everyone at ROH to this special, powerful girl. Sammy was crying when she was leaving the arena. She was so happy.”
Sakai’s love for Sammy also was on display at ROH’s Global Wars 2017 tour stop in Chicago that month. Sakai came to the ring for her match wearing a “Sammy Strong” t-shirt and she dedicated her victory over Stacy Shadows to Sammy.
This past Sunday, Sammy attended an independent wrestling show in New Jersey that her friend Sakai was competing on.
“Sammy went to the ER before the show day,” Sakai said. “I know she was not feeling good, but she still came to cheer for me. Her smile gave me so much power!”
It’s obvious that “Women of Honor’s Ray of Sunshine” now has her own little ray of sunshine in her life.
If you’d like to make a donation to Sammy’s GoFundMe campaign, click here