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Community Rallies with Support for Ben

By: Katherine Trowbridge

It’s been less than two weeks and a whirlwind, to say the least, for the Myers family. Their son, Ben, a freshman at Connell High School (CHS), went from what they thought was Bronchitis to finding out he had cancer.

Jamie McGrew shared to the GoFundMe page on behalf of the family, “Last week my sweet 14 year old nephew got the news every parent fears, he had a very large mass on his lung, pressing on his heart. Today the biopsy and PET scan showed he has stage 3B high risk Hodgkins Lymphoma involving his lymph nodes in his throat, lungs, heart, spleen, and belly. Today he started inpatient chemotherapy and will need a minimum of five rounds of chemo, each being 21 days. His treatment will be at the Children’s Hospital in Seattle, about a four hour drive for his mom, who also has three more young children to care for at home. His mother, Jocelyn, will need months off of work, help taking care of her other children (one who’s a type one diabetic and needs close monitoring), help with gas, lodging, food, and all other unforeseen expenses that will allow her to be there for Ben as well as his siblings. She currently has an unreliable SUV that is going to make just her commute very difficult...”

McGrew continued, “Ben is not your average kid, he has the heart of a lion. He’s such a sweet boy and would give the shirt off his back to anyone. He’s a great big brother and cousin. He never met anyone he didn’t love. They gave him his news today. News no young boy should ever have to understand. News that will forever change the course of his young life. When he beats this, and he will, he will have long term effects from his treatment. We are asking for help to make these next few months a little less hard for him and his family.”

The N. Franklin Community, especially the students and staff at CHS have rallied around this family and in support of Ben. Social media posts, seeking funding donations through the GoFundMe, donation boxes placed at local businesses, as well as other ways to show support are going viral in our small community.

Everything happened so fast with the diagnosis and the community came together just as fast to support Ben, stated ASB Advisor Patty Brandt.

ASB President McKay Selbe, expressed, “We’re willing to do whatever it takes to support him.”

CHS Counselor Jessica Infante-Castro said, “He’s very cared about by our staff and students. Just a really kind kid.”

Marci Koch shared, “If you know Ben, you know he’s a fun guy to be around! We want to show our community’s support to him and his family during this time. The “Friends of Ben” have placed collection boxes at local businesses in Connell - Papa Ray’s, Kaffrin’s Coffee, and the Pizza Station. Stop in and drop some change into the boxes. Thank you for your support of Ben and his family.”

You can also find a donation box at the CHS office. KaTrina Kunkel of Kaffrin’s Coffee stepped up to show support sharing that she will donate a portion of their sales from Wednesday, March 29 to the family. Tyra Gilbert followed suit at the Pizza Station, with donations of a part of her sales that same day.

Flying Colors created T-Shirts in Ben’s favorite color, pink, that are available to order online with proceeds going directly to the family. Students at CHS are planning on wearing the shirts in support of Ben on Wednesday, March 29.

CHS Principal Bill Walker said, “Ben is a great kid and we are certainly missing him on our campus because of his smile and personality.”

Future fundraising events are already being planned for the annual Spring Car Show in downtown Connell, among others. If you would like to support the family, there are numerous ways to get involved.

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