Ben Watson Gives Families Of Pediatric Cancer Patients Hope And Strength

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Ben Watson founder of The Benji Watson Cancer Foundation will celebrate his 2nd year in remission on April 15th, 2013. The foundation was established as a way to help families who have a child going through cancer treatments by hosting fundraisers, working closely with the community and supporting other non-profits to assist families & make their fight a little less painful.

Benji Watson Cancer Foundation

I saw how families often struggle to stay with their sick child and give them the time and support that they need to fight their cancer.

Ben Watson, founder of The Benji Watson Cancer Foundation, is a remarkable young man who on October 1, 2010 was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s large B-cell Lymphoma. As a 14-year-old boy, starting the long, arduous journey of chemotherapy, Ben made a promise to himself that he would be a cancer survivor. This was a promise that he kept; and Ben is going on 2 years in remission as of April 15th, 2013 working hard to lighten the burden of others in situations similar to his own.

“While in the hospital, I learned of the many fellow pediatric cancer fighters who were not as blessed as I had been by my family, friends, school, church, and neighborhood,” said Watson. “I saw how families often struggle to stay with their sick child and give them the time and support that they need to fight their cancer.”

Seeing the struggles of the families around him, Ben wanted to start a foundation to help pediatric cancer patients who have needs their families are unable to meet; so, he created The Benji Watson Cancer Foundation. The Benji Watson Cancer Foundation continues to host yearly fundraisers and works closely with Ben’s oncologist, members of the community, local hospitals and other non-profit organizations in assisting families to make their fight a little less painful. The foundation has helped about 40 families thus far, and works daily to continue their positive impact on families in need.

Ben had a first hand look at the hardships families face, such as bills piling up, rent payments that must be paid, and empty pantries that couldn’t be filled. In addition to these problems, the child often needs special clothing, braces or medicine that aren’t covered by insurance. Ben vowed to work hard to help these families out so their needs could be taken care of so they can spend time supporting their child in the hopes that they will become a survivor like Ben.

The Benji Watson Cancer Foundation helped Tina Jarrett cover an insurance payment for the continuing care her 17-year-old daughter, Shawna Rae Held, was receiving for her rare ovarian cancer. Jarrett’s insurance would have lapsed without the help of the foundation and they were able to cover two months, which lightened Jarrett’s burden quite a bit.

Although the foundation mostly focuses on day-to-day needs, they occasionally grant other requests. Chloe Zulcosky, 18, an avid photographer, lost her battle to brain cancer in July 2012. The foundation funded her mother Julie's request to provide more than 1,000 keepsake programs for Chloe's memorial service, including some of the photos she took.

This past November, Benjamin Watson proudly accepted the David R. Roberts Youth in Philanthropy Award, which is presented to an individual 18 years old or younger who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the quality of life in Central Florida. This was an immense honor for Watson as he strives to improve the lives of families in a familiar situation. In December 2011, The Benji Watson Cancer Foundation hosted their inaugural Eat, Drink & Be Merry event, which raised more than $20,000 to help local families.

In December, The Benji Watson Cancer Foundation held their second annual holiday event "Rock the Holidays," where they raised over $40,000 and was attended by more than 230 people. Thus far, the foundation has raised over $100,000, which directly benefits children and their families in Central Florida. The money raised helps these families pay utility bills, insurance and medical bills, buy Christmas gifts, food, clothing, gas cards and fulfill other needs that the family cannot meet.

Please join in supporting Ben’s cause and help families fight pediatric cancer. Donations are tax deductible, and they are a great way to involve your family in being thankful for your own blessings and in giving to others.

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Barry Watson
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