Family plans to honor daughter at ‘Smiles for Samantha’ event

By Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld….

Samantha Trebbi will be remembered during a Mar. 19 fundraiser for Operation Smile.

The Trebbi family — mom, April; dad, Bob, and brother, Zachary — suffered a devastating blow on Oct. 11, 2010 when daughter Samantha, 15, died from strep throat.

It is still difficult for the Trebbis to face the fact that their daughter is gone, but they want something good to come out of Samantha’s untimely death.

The family is planning a fundraiser called “Smiles for Samantha” in her honor on Mar. 19, from 9 to 11 a.m., at the Palmetto Bay Village Center, 18001 Old Cutler Rd. Samantha’s uncle, Adam Dishkin, will be leading a yoga class to raise money for Operation Smile, a charity that funds missions to developing countries for surgeons to repair cleft lips and cleft palates.

Bob Trebbi said that the decision to raise money for Operation Smile was a natural.

“Sam made so many people smile,” he said. “Just thinking about her now, brings a smile to their faces.”

They also decided on a yoga class because the last time Dishkin was in Miami, he, Samantha and April took a yoga class together. April Trebbi said her brother is a speech pathologist but he also teaches yoga in California. Dad Bob will be doing the class, although he’s never tried yoga before. Samantha’s brother Zachary is coming in from the University of Central Florida.

“We are hoping to raise as much money as possible to help these children as Sam had a great love for little kids and had the biggest smile you could ever imagine,” April Trebbi said. “It will change their lives. This is something she would be very proud of.”

In fact, Samantha’s community service included donating her hair to Locks of Love to go to a child with cancer.

“She was always out there doing something,” Bob Trebbi said. “She actually cut her hair twice.”

Samantha worked at Girl Scout Camp every year even although she no longer was active in Scouting. She had a thing for animals, so she volunteered with an animal adoption organization.

“She had a friend whose sister had ovarian cancer,” Trebbi said. “Sam did a lot for her. We did garage sales; we went to Wendy’s Chocolates [made and then] sold chocolates.”

For a year, Samantha helped raise money to help the family.

Samantha’s generosity has been remembered. Some of her former troop members plan to be at the yoga class and help the family with the fundraising, which will be in the Palm Room.

“We’re thinking a couple of hundred people can do the class. If my brother thinks there are too many, he can do two classes,” April Trebbi said.

While the family hopes to raise as much money as they can to donate to Operation Smile, attendance to the class will be limited to people that have a connection to the Trebbi family, such as family friends, former teachers and business associates.

“It’s for everybody to be together, to do good and raise money, eat something, and be together and hopefully smile for a change,” she said. “I want to make her proud. My husband and I are so proud of her.”
Trebbi said she keeps hearing wonderful stories about Samantha and how she touched others.

“It just blows my mind. She just made everybody happy,” Trebbi said. “Her friends still come over. One came over yesterday and asked me to help her bake a cake. They want to be in her room. They miss her so much.”

Anyone who wants to donate can send funds to the Samantha Trebbi Trust Fund, c/o Goldberg & Rosen PA, 1111 Brickell Ave, Suite 2180, Miami, FL. 33121.

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