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(NECN: John Moroney, Foxboro, Mass.) - They came by the hundreds, arriving at Temple Israel in Sharon, Mass. to say goodbye to and honor the memory of 17-year-old Sam Berns, the young man who inspired many during his battle with the disease progeria.
Hundreds of classmates from Foxboro High School were in attendance, as was Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Berns was a big fan of the Patriots and was set to be the honorary captain at the game Saturday.
He died Friday.
When he was a toddler, Berns was diagnosed progeria - a rare disease that make people age prematurely.
His struggles with the disease were documented in the HBO film, "Life According to Sam."
His loss has been difficult for everyone who knew and loved him. Sam's parents are doctors and they, along with his aunt, started the Progeria Research Foundation, hoping to find a cure for this extremely rare and debilitating illness.
It's something that Sam wanted very much.