A woman in her 50s found in Carlsbad, California, in February has inadvertently sparked an international mystery: She has no memory of her life, friends or family.
The woman calls herself Sam and has late-stage ovarian cancer. Doctors believe anti-bodies associated with her volleyball-sized ovarian tumor caused her memory loss, according to a Facebook page dedicated to helping her find her family.
Sam, who was found by firefighters semi-conscious on a street corner, speaks English and French with a British or Australian accent.
Dr. Alan Lerner, director of the Brain Health and Memory Center at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, told ABC News it’s rare for people with ovarian cancer to develop memory loss, but not unheard of.
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“[Proteins] can bind to the cells in the brain in areas that are important in memory,” Lerner said.
Sam, who is 5-foot-7 and weighs 200 pounds, has a chipped front tooth and pierced ears. She now resides in an assisted living facility as the FBI, local law enforcement and Interpol work on her case.
"I have been getting chemotherapy treatments and have lost all of my hair," Sam said on her Facebook page. “My prognosis is not good, and I pray my family will be found soon."
Sam said she has dreams of swimming in Australia and of living in a modern house in Hawaii.
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"I'm hoping that someone sees me, or [a news story], or something on the Internet, and my family immediately says, 'There she is! There she is!,”’ she told San Diego 6.
Sam is making new friends and has developed religious convictions in the wake of the whirlwind mystery.
"The only thing I know for certain is I have a faith in God," she wrote on Facebook.