Our Little Trooper Continues To Inspire Others !

Almost a year and a half ago Ben, who was only 4 years old at the time,  was given his chance of a lifetime to run for a touchdown with a high school football team.  We were humbled and amazed at everything the team did for him, and Ben’s story appeared in newspapers, on television, and on websites worldwide.

Having undergone two surgeries for a vascular malformation in his brain, Ben would undergo one more after his football experience.  His condition had been life threatening and as a result, our little guy never will be able to play American football.

It was in May, 2015 when Ben ran for the touchdown, and it was in August, 2015 that his story became more widely known.  So imagine my surprise when one of my former students sent me this yesterday.  Television channel 2 in Atlanta featured Ben’s story in their sports blog three days ago!

capture

This is the link to the sports blog, and Ben’s story is about halfway down the page. http://www.wsbtv.com/sports/high-school-football/high-school-football-tonights-schedule-biggest-hit-youll-ever-see/442102680

The video featured is the one posted online in 2015 by MaxPreps (40 seconds)…

I have written a number of blog posts about Ben’s football experience.  If you are a new follower and are interested in reading more, here are the posts.

The Touchdown of His Life

He has the ball

 

A Whole Lot of Football Love about the football referees who love and support Ben

football-referees-with-ben

 

Ben’s Football Video: Going Viral?, posted after we became aware of the MaxPreps video that was online

 

maxpreps

 

Ben Is Getting National Media Attention about American news outlets picking up Ben’s story

NBC story

 

A Television Interview With Our Little Trooper, posted after Chattanooga, Tennessee TV station Channel 9 interviewed Ben (click on the link to actually see the interview)

Chattanooga Channel 9

 

Some Great News For Our Little Celebrity, written after we became aware that Ben’s story was touching people around the world

Brazil

 

Another Football Honor and Some Soccer Fun For Our Kind-Hearted Kindergartener about Ben’s being made an honorary team captain by the Murray County High School (Georgia) football team

Waiting on the sideline
Waiting on the sideline

It is amazing that after all of this time Ben’s story is once again making the rounds.  Thanks to all who have told his story, to all who have stood by the family with prayers and support, and to all who read my blog and keep Ben in your thoughts and prayers.

#BenStrong   #Soli Deo Gloria

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Another Football Honor and Some Soccer Fun For Our Kind-Hearted Kindergartener

An honorary football captain

Last night our little guy was honored again by the Murray County High School (Georgia) football team during what may be their biggest game of the season.  The team, who played their major rival, made Ben an honorary team captain for the night.  He accompanied the actual team captains onto the field and participated in the coin toss that began the game.  We were unable to be there, so his mom took these photos:

 

What a surprise to discover that the high school also devoted an entire page of their 2015-2016 football program booklet to Ben !

 

After 3 brain surgeries, Ben is playing soccer !

Every week, Ben goes to physical therapy to help with the range of motion on the left side of his body. Because the original fistula was on the left side of the brain his muscle development on that side, particularly in his leg and foot, have been affected.

But after getting an okay from his doctor in New York, Ben is playing on an indoor soccer team.  The team is for children ages 4 to 6, and Ben is running and kicking the soccer ball with no difficulty at all.  During his first game he scored a goal for his team !  My husband and I were able to attend one of his games a week ago:

 

A kind-hearted kindergartener

Ben’s school recently held an open house which his mom and dad attended.  This is what they brought home:

kindergarten 1

 

Look closely at the last statement which says “If I had a million dollars I would give all of it to my neighbors.

kindergarten 2

 

We are so proud of our kind-hearted little guy!  And he has a favorite little neighbor.  They are so sweet together…

Some Great News for Our Little Celebrity

While Ben’s parents were planning their upcoming December trip back to New York for more surgery for our little trooper, they received great news.  Dr. B. called today and said that after studying the latest images from Ben’s recent MRIs, he sees no need for the surgery.  The new fistula that had formed in Ben’s brain is now nowhere to be found!

Ben in pool-2

In May, Dr. B. had said that the new fistula had formed because of pressure in the brain caused by the unexpected reopening of the original fistula.  He further told Ben’s parents that the new fistula might heal itself after the surgery was done to repair the reopened original fistula.  And it has!

Here’s what Ben’s dad said tonight:

The MRI looked so good that, unless Ben develops new symptoms, we do not have to go back to NYC in December for a six-month check-up. As long as Ben continues to improve and remains symptom free, we do not need to do anything until April or May of 2016.

Thank you all so much for your constant thoughts and prayers for Ben and our whole family. Please do not stop, they are definitely working!!! I am so glad God made our little boy Ben Strong!!!!

In the meantime, Ben’s story continues to make its way around the world.  Not only has his story appeared on major news websites here in the U.S., as well as on BuzzFeed and many inspirational websites, but it also is showing up on websites around the world.  Here’s a sampling:

A Spanish language website in the U.S.

U.S. Spanish language

Australia

Australia

Brazil

Brazil

Italy

Italy

New Zealand

New Zealand

Nigeria

Nigeria

Peru

Peru

Quebec, Canada

Quebec, Canada

Our family’s hope is that Ben’s story will be an inspiration to other families with a child diagnosed with dural arteriovenous fistula.  As a sports story, we hope that it will show how a high school football team in a little town in Georgia made a child’s dream come true.  And for everyone who reads Ben’s story or sees the “viral video” or the news broadcasts out of Atlanta or Chattanooga, we hope that Ben’s courage in falling down and getting up, and falling down again and getting up again, will be an encouragement to “keep on keeping on” towards whatever goal is in sight.

Soli Deo Gloria !    #BenStrong

A Television Interview With Our Little Trooper

Three Chattanooga, TN television stations have now done interviews with Ben as his story continues to be featured on news websites throughout the country.

Present when Ben made “the touchdown of his life” last May,  Channel 3, the NBC affiliate, recently ran an updated story about the video of that touchdown that has now gone viral.  Channel 61, the Fox News affiliate, and Channel 9, the ABC affiliate, both ran stories this week that included new interviews with Ben’s dad and with our little guy himself.

Here’s the video that has gone viral. (It’s only 40 seconds long.)

 

And here is the Channel 9 story that includes a short interview with Ben.  Because, as Ben’s mom says, “he’s as country as cornbread” and not everyone will be able to understand him, I am including the transcript of the story.

http://www.newschannel9.com/news/top-stories/stories/video-kid-brain-condition-scoring-touchdown-goes-viral-19635.shtml

Chattanooga Channel 9
From the Channel 9 webpage

 

A video of a 5 year old scoring a touchdown at a Murray County High School football game has gone viral.

In Murray County High’s Spring game this year, they let Ben Holloway take the field and do something he’s always dreamed of: scoring a touchdown at his dad’s alma mater.
      
The video has been viewed a million times. It captures his chance to live out a dream. A dream to make it to the inzone..

“I got back up then I ran, then I fell, then I got back up then I ran,” Ben Holloway said.

Ben says he fell a couple times but that wasn’t going to stop him. His dad, Joshua, says he doesn’t let much get him down.

“He never stopped. He got back up. He wasn’t going to stop until he got there,” Joshua Holloway said.

Ben had a rare brain condition called Dural Arteriovenous Fistula.

“Typically in children when it’s diagnosed it’s already too late, they’re already dead,” Holloway said.

After several surgeries Ben is a typical kid. Although his doctors say he can’t play football. Then, Murray County High gave him a chance.

“We’ve been told for a year and a half how serious his condition was and how grave it was, how catastrophic his condition really is and to see him do something he’s always wanted to do it, it means a lot” Joshua said.

So Ben got on the field suited up in his own custom jersey.

“Gave me a helmet! A white helmet!” Ben said.

Then he took the football and ran with a few stumbles along the way. His teammates and the defense playing along.
Then, the moment he’d always been waiting for.

“To me it shows the beauty of sports,” Joshua said. “Some people think it’s all about winning and for Coach Brewer at Murray County and his team, sports is about a whole lot more for those guys.”

The family has to fly to New York City at least once a year for a check up. They use a world class doctor not covered by their insurance.

The community has set up a fundraiser for the family here.

 

Again, thank you Murray County High School for making all of this possible !   #BenStrong

Ben Is Getting National Media Attention !!

Two days ago I wrote about the attention being given to a Facebook video of 5-year-old Ben running a touchdown last May.  (That post can be seen here.)  The video was picked up by two national news organizations, and Ben’s story is now on webpages of radio and television stations across the country as well as on the CBS and ABC news websites !

He has the ball

The video that went viral was uploaded to Facebook last Saturday by the high school sports website MaxPreps.  It showed Ben running for a touchdown during the Murray County (GA) High School Green and White Game.  Because of Ben’s condition and the fact that he will never be able to play football, the Murray County team had given our little guy the opportunity of his life, to play with their team on the high school football field. (You can read about that game and see the local television news report here.)

Both CBS and ABC national news contacted Ben’s dad for interviews (and CBS contacted me).  Nothing has been broadcast on television, but both news outlets have done stories that appear on their websites.

The CBS story appeared last night and can be read here.CBS story

The ABC story appeared this afternoon and can be read here.

NBC storyThe original video that went viral has been seen on Facebook by over 356,000 people and has been shared by over 6,000 people.  We are beyond amazed and are so glad that Ben’s story has been an inspiration to so many!  Thank you, Murray County High School!!

God is good!  We are blessed!

#BenStrong  !!!

Ben’s Football Video: Going Viral?

Waiting on the sidelines

Last night about 11 o’clock Ben’s dad became aware that a website called MaxPreps had posted a video of 5-year-old Ben running the football for a touchdown during the Murray County (GA) High School Green and White Game last Spring.  Because of Ben’s condition and the fact that he will never be able to play football, the Murray County team had given our little guy the opportunity of his life, to play with their team on the high school football field. (You can read about that game and see the television news report here.)

But who or what is MaxPreps, the site that posted the video?  According to their website:

“MaxPreps is America’s Source for High School Sports. We are proud to be involved with America’s hometown heroes – the young men and women working hard to improve their skills, place team above self, and serve as inspirations to their local communities.

MaxPreps aspires to cover every team, every game and every player. We do this in partnership with nearly 40,000 varsity coaches throughout the United States.”

The video of Ben is featured on their homepage, and here is what they said about it:

MaxPreps

But the video is picking up the most views on the MaxPreps Facebook page, which states:

MaxPreps Facebook

Twenty four hours after the video was posted on Facebook, it is showing over 175,000 views (this increases every few minutes), and it has been shared by over 3,200 people !  That is more views than any other video recently posted by MaxPreps.

We have no idea where they got the video.  I uploaded it to Facebook, but who knows if it has been posted on any other website?

Here it is.  It’s only about 40 seconds in length.

http://www.maxpreps.com/video/watch.aspx?videoid=4a1e77dd-d538-44ec-85f5-7e00bdd14a54

So many people from the U.S. and other countries around the world have seen the video and sent their comments of support and prayers for Ben.  We thank you all!

A Whole Lot of Football Love

Our little guy, Ben, certainly is well-loved by all who know him, and he has received a lot of “football love.” His dad is a high school football referee, and dad’s referee buddies have been very supportive of Ben as he has gone through multiple brain MRIs and surgeries.  The Murray County (GA) High School football team, in their annual Green and White Game last Spring, provided Ben with a full uniform and let him run a touchdown, an event that was covered by a local television news team.  You can read about that here.

This school year’s high school football season is just beginning, and many teams are playing pre-season games right now.  Last night, Ben’s dad officiated at a pre-season game and then posted this on his Facebook page:

(Ben’s dad is the tall guy in the back.)

Football referees with Ben

Joshua's referee postThanks to everyone who reads my posts about Ben.  Please keep him and his mom and dad in your thoughts and prayers.

 

The Touchdown of His Life

Ben loves football, but because of his condition and his brain surgeries he will never be able to play on a football team.  It is almost impossible to play American football without suffering from head injuries, and this is true even for children who play on organized teams.  Knowing this, a very special football team gave Ben the chance to play with them in their stadium and to score a touchdown last Friday night, an event that was covered by the local newspaper and on television. Before the game   The Murray County High School football team in Chatsworth, GA (the school for which Ben’s dad played football when he was in high school) made Ben a team member for their annual Green and White Game and treated our little guy as if he were a true celebrity. On Thursday night, Ben went to the stadium to practice with the team (24 sec.) …

 

For the Friday night game, the team printed posters that were handed out to the crowd and placed banners on the fence surrounding the football field.  The coach surprised our family by wearing the same sort of “Ben Strong” shirt that we all wore to support our little trooper. (6 images)

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Before the game began, Ben posed for photos with some of the Murray County football cheerleaders… Posing with cheerleaders

And to our surprise a sports reporter and cameraman from Channel 3, the NBC News affiliate in Chattanooga, TN, showed up to interview Ben and his parents… Channel 3 news interview

Ben had to wait until the game was nearing halftime before he would have the opportunity to play.  In the meantime, the sports reporter sent out a series of tweets on Twitter, announcing the upcoming story on the 11 o’clock news (5 images)…

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Just before the half, Ben got ready… Dad and Ben coming into the stadium Putting on his shoulder pads Shoulder pads are on

And waited on the sidelines with the team… Waiting on the sidelines

He donned his helmet… Donning his helmet

But to this grandmother he looked so little when he finally took his place on the field…

And then he had the ball and began to run for a touchdown… He has the ball

Although he ran down the field with no problem during practice, the weight of the shoulder pads and helmet and even the football itself caused him to lose his footing.  But he got back up and kept running… A fall

As the White Team players tried to “tackle” him, the Green Team players blocked for him, and he ran for a touchdown… Touchdown

He was hoisted high in the air, with his teammates chanting, “Ben, Ben, Ben!” Little hero

After the touchdown run, there was one more run, this time through a large banner held by the cheerleaders (6 images)…

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Our little scorer was so happy and proud… Proud scorer His expression says it all

Ben was able to keep the football jersey, shoulder pads, and helmet the team had purchased for him to wear. He also went home with a football autographed by all of the Murray County football players… Posing with signed football

There is no way our family can thank Murray County High School enough.  The football players, coaches, cheerleaders, and everyone who put so much into this event are all amazing and have filled our hearts with so much joy.  They have given our little boy the experience of a lifetime.

We are grateful, too, for the news media who reported this story.  The local newspaper, which is a weekly paper, was published today and featured Ben on the first page of their sports section.  Because we live so far away, we haven’t yet received our copy.  Chattanooga Channel 3 aired Ben’s story at least 3 times.  Here is that video…

 

Please remember Ben as he and his parents travel to New York in just over a week.  It has been a year since his two brain surgeries, and he will be having follow-up tests and additional surgery if necessary.  Thanks to everyone for their encouragement, thoughts, and prayers.

After the game 1 After the game 2