Carolyn Farmer Sampson US Thalidomide Survivor

View From the Hill is reflections on life by writer Carolyn Farmer Sampson through her lens as a U.S. thalidomide survivor and grandmother.

Carolyn’s mother took a sample of thalidomide from her doctor at about seven weeks pregnant. The medication caused phocomelia: deformity of the limbs and digits. While Carolyn’s injuries affected her hands and arms, some thalidomide survivors are also missing toes, feet or legs. As they aged, many thalidomide survivors discovered internal deformities and complications including chronic pain.

In 2016, she established a private online group for thalidomide survivors born or currently living in the United States. In 2018, she planned a gathering that was attended by fifteen thalidomide survivors from around the country, many of whom had never met another survivor.

Carolyn invites anyone who might be a thalidomide survivor and anyone with questions about the story of thalidomide in the U.S. to contact her.

Carolyn Farmer Sampson, U.S.Thalidomide Survivor


Carolyn lived in Delaware and Louisiana before settling in Minnesota at seven years old. She lives in the Minneapolis-St.Paul area with her husband and dog. Two daughters, their husbands and three grandchildren complete the family.

She graduated with a degree in written communications from St. Catherine University at age 40 and a master’s degree from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs several years later.


Carolyn began a career in customer service at the Pioneer Press newspaper while still in high school. She later spent two years as a feature writer for a weekly newspaper before transitioning to a corporate marketing role. Her positions included writing, editing, website design, media relations and event planning.

Over the years, she was also a political candidate and a small business owner. In 2016 Carolyn returned to her passion for writing by starting this blog where she often writes about equal rights for all.