St Baldrick’s was a great event. Thank you all for helping make it a success. Our team, the Green Drakkoman’s Team, raised over $12,000 in Albany and other folks across the country added another $3,000 by participating in their locations. Over $15,000 was raised in honor of Ben. I heard some really great stories about Ben and the impact he has had and continues to have on the world. I shared some great memories of Ben and James with people I see often and some I have not seen in a long time.
If you weren’t able to participate don’t worry we will be giving you all other opportunites to help make a difference; to help ease the burden of a family whose child is in danger of losing their life, to help researchers find a new treatment, to train the healer of tomorrow. Our goal is to find ways to do it that put a smile on your face and bring more laughter than tears. We will be looking at events that Ben would enjoy and be proud of. If you have any ideas please share them with us.
On March 27th, this Saturday, before the water polo game that starts at 1 pm the Siena Athletic Department and the Women’s Water Polo Team will be honoring Ben as a member of the team. There will be a ceremony before the game. We are going to try and arrive around Noon to get the good seats. After the game there will be a reception in a nearby building. The ceremony, game and reception are open to the public. The game is an important one against a really good team so they will need our support more than ever. We are hoping to fill the stands with Siena fans as they play Hartwick. You don’t need tickets or to preregister. The game will be at the pool in the Athletic Center.
Ben really loved St Patrick’s day. It was a day of magic because Lucky the Leprechan would invariably make an appearance no matter where we were. For those of you who don’t know about Lucky. He is full of mischief and on St Patrick’s day he shows up and makes a mess of things and plays simple pranks on people like hiding things. I know that some of you have stories about discussing Lcuky with Ben and I’d love to have you post them on here as comments. I remember Ben returning home form Kindergarten and telling me with excitement how lucky had rearranged the classroom the night before. It was an exciting day of finding the things that Lucky had done and making the right. Ben had drawn a pot of gold for Lucky and we had the drawing hanging on our sliding glass door for a long time. Ben understood that you could play a prank on someone on St Patrick’s day and they would automatically blame Lucky. It just added to the fun and magic. As with most of the magical things about Ben it was really hard to tell where the line of belief was with him. He understood that the magic of the moment was in allowing yourself to believe the things that made life the most enjoyable.
EASTER BUNNY SPOILER ALERT
I remember discussing the Easter Bunny with the boys after one incredibly fun Easter Egg hunt. They were running around with joy and abandon looking for signs of the Easter Bunny. Chasing down eggs and just laughing, running, looking behind pushes and looking for the Easter Bunny. As we were opening the eggs inside I made a comment about how cool the Easter Bunny was for leaving them all of the candy and the baskets. They were so into it I was sure they believed the Easer Bunny was real. Ben looked at me and said, “Daddy, the Easter Bunny isn’t real. You do know that, don’t you? A rabbit can’t poop out eggs. He isn’t real, not like Santa?” I was dumbstruck. All I could think of was “Oh my God…What am I going to do when the Santa Claus kicks in?”
I am convinced that Ben had a really firm grasp on reality. Perhaps better than most adults. I watched him talk about God with ministers; bringing up concepts, ideas and observations that most adults don’t understand. He would explain them so simply and ask thoughtful questions. I watched as he could suspend his disbelief in a movie, at a play or in the moment with children younger than him – as long as the little ones weren’t playing with his toys. He called littler kids “toy lickers” and would tell them they couldn’t play with his Legos until they demonstrated that they wouldn’t lick them. Ben understood the magic of the universe and the need for belief.
This weekend on March 21st at Savannah’s in downtown Albany there will be a St Baldrick’s celebration to benefit the Melodies Children’s Hematology/Oncology Clinic at Albany Med. Ben loved the fact that people would shave their heads to show solidarity with the kids that lost their hair in treatment. Although he was well known for telling people whether they should do it or not. He might say, “You really shouldn’t do it. Your head isn’t shaped well for being bald.” We have assembled a team and the team has done amazingly well. We have raised close to $7000 and I have a few checks that aren’t included in the total. Our team starts getting shaved right at the beginning. We are starting around 2 pm and are lead by a wonderful girl named Alexa who has raised about half of our total. We are already starting to plan our first Green Drakkoman Foundation event and you will be hearing more about it in the future.
The Green Drakkoman has assembled a team of amazing indiviuals who wish to shave their heads in solidarity with the children whose bodies have become a battlefield.
March together in honor of Ben S. towards a day when children will no longer be pumped with poison to destroy these deadly diseases.
Share joy, laughter and tears with fellow warriors in this life or death trial that these young people face every day.
The Latham Fire Department recently held a blood drive in honor of Ben. They did the same last year and Ben was able to astop by and thank people. One of the Girl Scout Troops has held several blood drives at Calvary United Methodist Church in honor of Ben. I was asked to write something for the folks to read while they were having juice and cookies after donating. It is so important to us that people know the importance of the simple acts of kindness that they do. The following message is what I created.
We would like to thank you for donating blood today in honor of Benjamin Stowell. The young man this collection is being held in honor of was very special. He was my son. He was diagnosed in September of 2006 with osteosarcoma at the age of 6. Throughout his treatments the chemotherapy would cause his blood counts to drop precipitously and he received a great deal of blood products. He also endured multiple surgeries on his arm and lungs during which he also received blood. As a lifetime blood and bone marrow donor I took my donations for granted. The first time I saw the life giving fluid dripping into my son I realized the hope and love that was contained in each drop. I prayed through my tears that whoever had donated the blood would be blessed with the understanding of the immense importance of their gift. You truly are giving not just the gift of life when you donate blood. You are giving the gift of hope and without hope life cannot exist.
On October 12th 2009 at 6:20 PM Ben arrived at the end his journey along an arduous path at the age of 9 years old. In 2006 Ben was diagnosed with a rare cancer called osteosarcoma in his right humerus. Ben was assisted in his journey by a super hero of his creation – The Green Drakkoman. Ben was an inspiration to anyone who met him. When things looked darkest he would often say,”Remember, Focus on the Positive.” He was able to inspire adults in ways that we never anticipated. Ben never let the osteosarcoma limit him. He chose to live life full on and had many accomplishments to be proud of. He attained the blue belt in karate, learned how to snowboard, took guitar lessons and most recently started to learn how to play the cello. He attended Blue Creek Elementary School in the North Colonie School District and was beloved and celebrated by not only his school, but, the entire school district. Ben’s goal in life was to become a “fire-fighter doctor” and was inducted into the Latham Fire Department as an honorary member and responded to his first call after the induction ceremony. Ben was also a member of the Siena College Women’s Water Polo team and was an honorary Bat Boy for the Red Sox. In 2009 he became the first player/owner in North Colonie Youth Baseball league when he sponsored The Green Drakkoman team. He attended church at Calvary United Methodist church and maintained a simple yet very strong faith. The community at large wrapped his entire family in their loving arms. In the last moments of Ben’s time here on earth he was held in his parents’ arms as they lovingly caressed his head and told him they were proud of him. His last moments were very peaceful. He had a well lived life. In addition to many loving relatives Ben is survived by his twin brother James Stowell, his mother Stacey Gerard, his father Tim Stowell and his dog Mocha. The story of Ben’s journey with osteosarcoma is on our website http://www.greendrakkoman.com. It is currently being transitioned and new content will be showing up soon.
Thank you for being a blood donor.
I have the ability to make updates on the Green Drakkoman site again. I am listing thissite to use as a back up – https://greendrakkoman.wordpress.com I am going to start putting updates both here and there. In case anything happens again.
Ben is doing well. He is still weak and his potassium and albumenim are low. We have to get him to eat more protein. He is walking some, but, tires quickly so we have a wheelchair for him. He will be having CT scans of his innards done on Friday. It is great to be home and I know many of you really felt cutoff because of the web site outage. It is surprising how much we come to depend on todays communication methods. As soon as his strength is back he will be getting another round of chemotherapy – the ifosfomide. Ben had to have his port accessed today so they could draw blood. He was very upset and cried a little. Then he looked up and said, “I’m ok, I was just a little terrorized because I thought I wasn’t going to have to be accessed.
This weekend the Price Chopper in Latham on Rt 9 is having a Green Drakkoman Celebration. I will give you all more details tomorrow. I think the times are from 1-4pm and they will be selling Green Drakkoman bracelets, ice cream and there will be specials on green items in the store.
Ben and James are counting down to their birthday. I am not sure what they are expecting because we really haven’t planned much. We have a few ideas that we are hoping to finalize this weekend.
Everyone is home safe. We brought Ben home last night. We left the hospital around 10:30 pm. He is resting and we had some family visitors today that have really lifted his spirits. I will be telling you many stories about the last few days about some of the things that happened during the “Communications Blackout.” Ben is still very weak and unsure of walking. He ate chicken soup today and Stacey just went to get fixings for “Candy Shoppe Sundaes.” We are having to force fluids into him, but, he is doing well. Feel free to comment directly on any of the posts on here. I think this site may actually work out better for us as I get used to all of the things we can do with it. Thank you for all of the love and support during our Make-A-Wish trip. We had a small army of folks working tirelessly on getting Benjamin home. We met some amazing folks in San Diego who wrapped there arms around us and gave us the hugs you were sending our way.