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.