When cancer hits, it hits hard, and no one knows this better than Ben. The first time Osteosarcoma struck him, it made him miss the entirety of sixth grade due to surgeries and chemotherapy. Right when Ben was beginning to feel confident toward the end of seventh grade the cancer returned. Already shaken from his first bout, the severity of the cancer forced Ben into a wheelchair for a year. School and sports were different. Life was different. Ben was more different, still.
As hard as cancer tried to overwhelm him – even coming back a third time – Ben was stronger. Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times was “a completely different world, one that even cancer can’t claim,” allowing Ben to restore his confidence and self-worth as he led other survivors to the same. He has since taken lessons in photography, art, and ceramics, even donating some of his work for cancer research fundraisers. His true love, though, is computers. When he was wheelchair-bound, he began playing video games and proceeded to build his own computer and became a staff member for a gaming network with a community of roughly 8 million people. Some of the people he has met online are now Ben’s closest friends. In his words, “my online life has helped me cope with my treatment, but what began as a coping mechanism became one of the most informative journeys of my life.”