Of all the players to get smacked in the nose by a soccer ball it would have to be the one who had three brain surgeries! Nonetheless, our little guy is doing great. Ben plays on the youngest and physically smallest soccer team in his league, and when an older, bigger player kicked the ball right into his face, he was knocked backwards onto the ground. An X-ray showed no broken nose, only some bruising. We are so grateful for that good news!
Ben is in first grade, and when asked how school is going he always says, “Good.” When asked what he likes best about school he always says, “Playing outside.” But his mom says he loves to learn and is a diligent student. That’s music to this teacher/grandma’s ears. His class recently had a Career Day, and students were encouraged to come to school dressed for the occasion. Of course, Ben dressed as a New York City police officer. Our family is so thankful for the kindness showed by the NY Police Department, especially the 20th Precinct, to the children at the Ronald McDonald House in Manhattan the last time Ben was there.
An 88th birthday
Not all children have the opportunity to know their great-grandparents, but Ben has been blessed to know two of his. He was only 3 years old when his great-grandmother (my mother) passed away. I’m sure his memories of her now are only dim ones, but he loved her and enjoyed spending time with her when she was alive. He knows his great-grandfather (my father) well, loves him much, and helped him celebrate his 88th birthday last weekend.
Ben is doing great. He continues with physical therapy once a month. Please keep him and his mom and dad in your thoughts and prayers.
A few days ago, Ben received a surprise package from the 20th Precinct of the New York Police Department. According to his dad, Ben literally was speechless! He tore into the box and found inside the package an official NYPD hat, an authentic NYPD hooded sweatshirt, a NYPD baseball, and NYPD stickers.
There also was a handwritten note from Police Lieutenant Noreen Lazarus! She is the officer who gave Ben one of her dress blue shirts last month when Ben visited the Precinct. That day last month was one of the most exciting and memorable in Ben’s life. Officers from the 20th Precinct treated families staying at the New York Ronald McDonald House to a boat trip on the Hudson River and then cooked dinner for them. You can read more about that day here.
We are honored and humbled that a member of the NYPD would take such an interest in our little Brave Ben here in Georgia and would send him a letter and a box full of gear. I echo the words of Ben’s dad in saying to the NYPD, and especially the 20th Precinct and Lt. Noreen Lazarus, THANK YOU for taking an active part in the life of a little boy who idolizes each of you!
Brave Ben came home from New York a little over two weeks ago, bringing with him an item that now is his most prized possession. We saw it for the first time when he and his parents came to visit this past weekend to celebrate his mom’s birthday…
After receiving his clean bill of health from Dr. Berenstein in New York, Ben had a couple of days to celebrate before flying back home. His family joined other families staying at the Ronald McDonald House for a bus tour of New York City. And he visited the Sweet Shop where he could indulge his sweet tooth…
But the excursion that had him more excited than Christmas and his birthday put together was an outing sponsored by the New York City Police Department, specifically the 20th Precinct. Ronald McDonald families were treated to a boat trip on the Hudson River and were taken back to the precinct where the NYPD cooked dinner for them and let the children sit behind the police desk and on police motorcycles and horses and dress in protective gear.
Our little guy posed with Chief Murtagh and was even featured in the 20th Precinct’s Twitter post on June 10.
Ben was in seventh heaven, and it was here that he was given his most prized possession. One of the female officers from the 20th gave him one of her NYPD shirts! Here he is wearing the shirt back at the Ronald McDonald House…
(He was so excited to receive this gift that he even wore it to church this past Sunday!)
Back at home in Georgia a day after the excursion, Ben found several welcome messages from his sweet neighbor…
Our little trooper is glad that he doesn’t have to return to the hospital in New York, but he’s going to miss the Ronald McDonald House and all of the wonderful people there…
Just over a week ago Ben had his third brain surgery within a period of 13 months. Three days after this most recent surgery he was out and about again in New York City, and he DID get to go to a New York Yankees baseball game.
One day after the ball game, Ben was headed home. His happy face on the airplane tells the story. Soooo happy to go home, he later told me the hospital was like a “monster” to him.
On his arrival home he was greeted by an outpouring of welcomes from his sweet little neighbor friend.
And some Welcome Home balloons from his G-Pa and me.
Ben’s mom went back to work later in the week, and Ben’s dad stayed home with him. Isn’t that great that Ben could spend that time with his dad?! And what a wonderful time they had together. Here is a Facebook post from dad:
My husband and I finally were able to visit with Ben yesterday. We had kept his little dog while he was in New York, and we met the family half-way between their house and ours (we live two and a half hours away) so we could visit for a little while and let Ben take his dog back home. It was so good to see this smiling face…
As always, please continue to keep Ben in your thoughts and prayers. As a result of his ordeal, he has lost some range of motion in one foot and now walks with that foot turned inward. At Dr. B’s request, Ben’s mom and dad have contacted his pediatrician to arrange for physical therapy. Tomorrow, Ben also will begin formal swimming lessons which not only should be fun for him but also could help stretch and strengthen the muscles in his foot. I will keep you posted…