Monday, February 4, 2013

Mission Monday: The Inspiration Behind Bennett's Buddies

Bennett Williams looks like a normal, healthy and cute little boy, with two loving parents and two older sisters. When his parents, Kirsa and Keith, took him to his one-year doctor’s appointment, he passed with flying colors. But, one month later, Kirsa noticed red spots on his body. They took him to the doctor the next day, and their pediatrician told them to get him to Children's Medical Center of Dallas right away. There, the doctors confirmed their pediatrician’s concern: Bennett had leukemia.

Now two, Bennett has faced intense treatment, including a regular routine of chemotherapy, 16 blood transfusions, as well as numerous spinal taps and bone marrow tests.

Since his diagnosis, the Williams family has made a big difference for other children with leukemia through their dedication to raising money for non-profits such as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society —and they have improved their health in the process.

One day Kirsa got a flyer in the mail with a purple jersey on it. It was from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, for a marathon called Team in Training (TNT). She decided to go to an organizing meeting at Luke’s Locker, and she asked her friend Amanda to go with her.

Williams said, “I went because I wanted to educate myself with anything to do with leukemia or childhood cancer. I then made the decision to run the marathon, and Amanda agreed to do the fundraising. Even if you never run a mile in your life, they train you on how to do it. Somehow we would find the time to do it.”
Kirsa and Keith ran the marathon in Dallas, and with Amanda’s help, they raised over $60,000.
The trio continued their fundraising as they signed on for the TNT San Diego marathon in June. They recruited three more friends from the Park Cities and raised $30,000. Keith then signed up for a triathlon with TNT and raised another $60,000. In total, they raised $150,000 in one year between the three races.
Williams said, “Keith contacted everyone he knew in his industry across the country. You never know who has been touched by leukemia and what their story is. We would get letters saying things like, ‘my brother died of leukemia, so enclosed is money to support your efforts.’”

When Keith and his friends participated in the triathlon in Washington, D.C., The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society called the family up to the stage, and the Williams' were informed that they had raised enough money to be awarded a research grant in Bennett’s name.

After the ceremony, a woman from the crowd sought them out. Williams said, “The woman asked if Bennett had a port. When I told her yes, her eyes teared up. The woman then said, "‘Ten years ago I did my first team in training, and all the money we raised went to develop an infant port. And here he is in front of me, and he has the port from the money that we raised.’” The Williams then realized what a huge impact their grant could make, and they decided the money should go to research childhood leukemia. “We raise this money, and it makes a difference if even one child survives,” Williams said.

Read the original Bubble Life article here

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