Ben's Fight

Ben's Fight

From Emily Valentino

Donations will be used to help with the increased expenses of medical bills, transportation expenses for appointments, plus to help cover the loss of Ben's income.

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Update #4

over 3 years ago

May 12th

Ben's white blood cell count is 70,000! This is Ben's new best friend for the next 6-8 hours. The good news? He's got enough stem cells for 6 transplants. The technology is amazing (says my inquisitive science brain).

Update - they collected 50.3 million stem cells - double what he needed!

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If you know Ben, then you know he’s the first person to offer a hand.  Whether it’s at work, on vacation, driving to one of the kids events – Ben will stop what he’s doing to help someone in need, even a perfect stranger.  His family nickname is the Gentle Giant and his heart is as big as his smile. 

Ben recently left a high stress job to go back to his love of the open road – driving a big rig, which the kids thought was so cool!  It was time for a change and the change was good.  I saw the twinkle in his eyes become brighter.  We were able to have more family dinners together, and without the long commute, he had the flexibility to attend school events, and even coach the PeeWee Football team!  Life was good and we were having fun!

Then Ben fell at work and injured his back.  The doctors said it was just a pulled muscle, but something told me it was more than that.  We gave it a few weeks, but the pain got worse.  Long story short, after multiple tests and scans, Ben had 3 compression fractures in his spine, but that wasn’t the worst of it.

Ben was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that affects the bones, making them brittle and susceptible to fractures.  Big Ben is like a little old lady with osteoporosis, except it’s much worse than that.  Over the past few months, I have watched the disease strip this man of everything – playing with his boys, holding his baby girl, tinkering on his Jeep, even trying to earn a living.  Sometimes I’m afraid to hug him because I don’t want to hurt him.  He is one of the strongest people I know, and this is breaking him.

Through the guidance of our local oncologist, we have decided to undergo treatment at Dana-Farber.  We need to fight this the best way we can!  This means long days and many trips to Boston, as he undergoes several rounds of chemotherapy.  Ben is unable to work due to the limitations of the cancer and the side effects of the chemotherapy.  Part of the treatment will include a stem cell transplant, which would mean a minimum of 4-6 months out of work, and possibly up to a year.  At best, he might return to 80% of his strength and health after the transplant.  

There may come a time in your life when you find yourself in a place you never imagined.  There is a deep inner strength that is awakened and a desire to fight more than you ever have before.  We find ourselves in that place now.  Our friends and family have rallied with us to provide meals and early morning or late night childcare and we are forever grateful for this.  But the harsh reality is that we need some financial assistance.  We humbly ask for your help, along with your continued thoughts and prayers.  We have a long road ahead of us, and we are unsure of the path, but your kindness will make it easier to travel.  

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Emily Valentino posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #4

May 12th

Ben's white blood cell count is 70,000! This is Ben's new best friend for the next 6-8 hours. The good news? He's got enough stem cells for 6 transplants. The technology is amazing (says my inquisitive science brain).

Update - they collected 50.3 million stem cells - double what he needed!

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Emily Valentino posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #3

May 8th

I need thoughts and prayers, people. Ben is hurting big-time - he's almost through an 11 day prep for the stem cell collection and he's experiencing intense bone pain. Please keep him close to your hearts. This is such an important part of his treatment. A successful stem cell harvest will mean that he will be set for when the time comes for a transplant. With Multiple Myeloma, you can be your own donor, so there is no urgency to find a match, and no worry of rejection after the transplant. We will be heading into Boston on the 11th for the actual collection.

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Emily Valentino posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #2

April 13th

Ben and I are just overwhelmed by all of the support we are receiving in this community. Thank you to everyone who donated items and their time to this event. We saw a lot of familiar faces yesterday as well as new faces, all with big hearts willing to help out a family in need. It really sent a positive message to our 3 young children as they try to navigate through this challenging time. It was encouraging for them to see some many people care about their father and it just warmed my heart. We can't even begin to thank all of you. Just know that if there is ever a time where you need help, we've got your back because you've got ours. And Tara - you totally rocked it girl! To the crew at Fed's - the ones we saw and the ones we didn't see behind the scenes - you guys are the best!

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Emily Valentino posted a new update:
over 3 years ago

Update #1

We want to thank everyone who has donated so far! We are so appreciative of all the positive thoughts and prayers. Ben seems to be tolerating the treatments a little better as he starts the 2nd round of chemo. We are looking at another 5-7 rounds, each a 3-week period. I think the trips to Boston are more mentally exhausting to both of us at this point, plus its been hard on the kids. We are thankful for all of the local help we have as well, especially those early mornings and long days where child care coverage is so helpful. Please consider sharing this on your page. Thank you again - we continue to be humbled by the support.

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