Board Member

Sam Philben and James Philben

Sam Philben has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen for over 40 years. She has been doing hair in the Valley since the day she arrived. Sam opened her own hair salon on May 15, 1989 in Basalt, Colorado. Sam is a well-loved and respected community member and from the time that her children were in school to the present, she has always helped out with fundraising for charitable organizations.

On the fateful day of January 3rd, 2014, Sam heard those words that no one would ever want to hear. Her son James would never walk again after a tragic accident that left him paralyzed with a high cervical spinal cord injury. The family was heartbroken, but they didn’t ever give up, not even for a moment. After Sam and James spent months at Craig Hospital in rehabilitation therapy, they were back in the Valley trying to find their new ‘normal’ with James living life to his fullest. In June 2015, Sam and her son met Amanda Boxtel with Bridging Bionics Foundation. Amanda gave them renewed hope that James might be able to once again stand and walk with the power of state-of-the-art technology. With the help of Bridging Bionics Foundation’s bionic exoskeleton suit, and in just five sessions, James walked a total of 1,163 steps after being paralyzed.

Sadly, James’ life unexpectedly ended on March 9, 2016 from complications due to spinal cord injury. Sam is as motivated as ever to help others in the Roaring Fork Valley to make their dreams come true and once again take those long lost steps. Sam is proud to serve on the Bridging Bionics’ team with those who made those magical moments that were once a dream, come true for James, Sam and her family. Sam lives with her husband Dan in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

In loving memory of James Patrick Philben. December 3, 1990 ~ March 9, 2016 In this photograph, Sam and Dan Philben's son, James, stood at 6'3" and walked for the fist time since sustaining a high cervical spinal cord injury.
In loving memory of James Patrick Philben, December 3, 1990 ~ March 9, 2016. In this photograph, Sam and Dan Philben’s son, James, stood at 6’3″ and walked for the fist time since sustaining a high cervical spinal cord injury.