My humor is terrible, and it always has been. My jokes especially. And I will occasionally treat myself to some dark humor. But, if we’re taking about the awful disease known as cancer, there’s nothing to laugh about here. Cancer is one of the biggest medical issues of modern day society, as scientists work tiresomely and patiently to find a cure for this awful condition.
According to the American Cancer Society, 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year are made up by children. More than 80% of children will survive for more than 5 years nowadays, which is a huge improvement from the 1970s, where the probability of a child surviving cancer was about 58%. Cancer is also the second biggest cause of death among children, following close behind accidents.
Benicio Martinez, or Benny, is a seventh grader from Park Ridge, Illinois in the United States. In order to raise awareness for cancer, Benny had shaved his head.
Around a week after shaving his head, Benny and his family went on vacation to Florida. While he was there, Benny started having headaches and nausea, and when he was taken to hospital and had a CT scan done on his head, doctors confirmed that Benny had a tumor on the back of his brain. Ironically, eleven days after shaving his head to raise awareness for cancer.
The tumor was successfully removed by the doctors, but the whole procedure took 7 hours and when poor old Benny finally woke up, he couldn’t swallow, walk or talk anymore.
After the tumor was removed from his brain, Benny was diagnosed with medulloblastoma. I know it sounds like the name of an African tribe, but it’s actually the most common form of brain cancer in children, and unfortunately, this is one of those cancers that spread to other parts of the body.
“He’s not the only one that suffers just the things that life throws at you that you don’t expect” said his mother, Michelle Martinez, in the Facebook video.
“They must be joking,” he recalled thinking after his parents told him. “When I found out it was real, I got pretty scared.”
“[St. Baldrick’s] is special to Benicio because he needs so much help right now from other people, and this is one thing he can do to help other kids with cancer,” his mother said.
Despite his condition, Benny refuses to focus on himself and instead decides to focus on helping others by motivating them to keep pushing. Benny and his family held a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a foundation that funds its childhood cancer research through donations. Their goal was $60,000, but as of March 2017, they had already reached $10 million, which is very impressive.
“I want to do whatever I can to help kids going through the same thing that I am,” he says. “I know it’s hard, and I’d like to tell them not to give up anytime soon. I’m not giving up. I want to walk again.”
“Through it all, he’s stayed positive and touched many lives in spite of facing several setbacks,” says his dad, Ed. “It’s been difficult for him to lose his independence and rely on others to do things for him. But he’s making good progress, determined to make a comeback.”
His doctor, Larissa Pavone, has especially been impressed with what Benny has been able to do, “There is nothing easy about what Benny is going through and yet he handles every challenge with a wonderful spirit, maturity and optimism. He’s a remarkable, intelligent and funny kid with an old soul.”
We fully support Benny and we wish him a speedy recovery!