On the two-year anniversary of the death of their five-year old son, Sam Lee, parents Michael Lee and Erin Benson paid tribute by setting a world record using their son’s favorite toy.
Sam was just two-years-old when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. From that point on, his parents did everything they could to give him a fun and exciting life. They took more than 20 trips, visiting zoos, museums, toy stores, and other attractions all across the country.
Toward the end of his life, five-year-old Sam couldn’t move around as much, but he did find joy in playing with Lincoln Logs, even building a fort with them on the day he died.
“He didn’t walk well,” Lee explains. “So anything that he could take control over and build that was within his immediate space became a real source of activity for him.”
Benson marked the one-year anniversary of Sam’s death on social media, asking people for ideas on how to honor Sam. Someone suggested setting a world record for the largest structure built from Lincoln Logs.
Lee and Benson took the idea and ran with it. Over the past year, they received over 30,000 Lincoln Logs, both new and used, that people have donated to help them set the record.
With Purpose, a non-profit Lee and Benson founded in 2014 to help advance the treatment of pediatric cancer, hosted the world record attempt at a hotel near the couple’s home in Charleston, South Carolina. They also got help from Novus Architects, a local architectural firm.
Over the course of two days, eight different workers from Novus Architects worked on putting together a structure using 17,504 Lincoln Logs, 120 more logs than the previous world record.
Benson says the world record was secondary in importance to letting people know about the charity and the work it does. But she admits Sam would have loved seeing a massive structure made of Lincoln Logs.
“It’s a spectacle, and it makes people stop and notice it and ask, ‘Why did you do this?'” says Benson. “I can see (Sam’s) face, if he would have seen it – what it would have looked like.”