Several Fundraisers Aim To Help 2-year-old Leukemia Patient
In Times of Need, Northeast Pennsylvania comes to the aid of its own. In our regular column, Patrice Wilding provides a platform for area residents facing a variety of obstacles to create awareness and connect them with much-needed help.
Who: Benjamin “Ben” or “Benji” McGuigan of Jessup marked his second birthday on March 24 with his loved ones, including mom Georgia, dad Vince, sister Jadyn and brother Chase. The family celebrated the sweet little guy who also has a tough side that cracks them up, shown when he holds his own in rumbles with his big brother (and in the hugs that follow), the comical way he stomps his feet while singing along to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” with his big sister, when he sneakily stuffs toy cars into his pockets before bedtime or when he ad-libs “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” to add extra verses for cows, his favorite. Whenever he snuggles up to his parents for a story, Ben’s warmth and contagious smile can’t be contained. Just 10 days before he turned 2, however, little Ben was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He already has undergone surgery to install a mediport through which he receives chemotherapy at Geisinger Janet Weis Children’s Hospital, Danville.
What: Ongoing donations are being accepted in numerous ways, such as contributions via Venmo (search @Support_for_Ben), GoFundMe.com and a savings account at CMC-FCPI Employees Federal Credit Union, 415 Colfax Ave., Scranton, in the name of Benjamin James McGuigan; signing up for discounted photography sessions with Chelsea Leigh Photography for $50 — $10 of which goes to the McGuigans; and patronizing a bracelet and key chain sale, costing $5 and $7, respectively, available via battlewithbenji.com. Supporters also have organized a take-out pasta dinner benefit, which will include meatballs with pasta, salad, roll and dessert for each $12 donation. That event also will feature basket raffles. For more information, contact Brenda Conlon at 570-280-8735 or Mike Tolerico at 570-406-2323.
When: Sunday, April 7, 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Where: Rossi’s Ristorante, 150 S. Main St., Archbald
Why: Proceeds will be used to offset medical expenses, including travel needs, as Ben’s treatments are projected to last for the next two or three years.
In her own words: “It has been very difficult for Ben and his entire family, but even through all of the bloodwork, X-rays, needles and treatments, that precious little smile is still beaming. He is a tough little guy who is a fighter,” said Beth McGuigan, Ben’s grandma. “We’re all very moved, grateful and humbled by the prayers and support of the entire community, especially the doctors at Geisinger Community Medical Center that assisted initially, and the team of doctors, nurses and staff in Danville.”
Update: The benefit breakfast held Saturday in Moscow for North Pocono teen Elenaor “Ellie” Kloss was a resounding success and far exceeded expectations, organizers said. Approximately 700 people turned out to support the 14-year-old high school freshman, who recently underwent surgery to remove a malignant brain tumor, as detailed in this column last week. Well-wishers also made cards at the event to send to Ellie as she continues with treatment in Philadelphia.