On his 7th birthday, Ben Wieman was supposed to be home in Madison, South Dakota, celebrating his special day with friends and family. Instead, he was in a hospital bed at Sanford Children’s undergoing treatment for leukemia.
Just two weeks earlier, Ben woke up with a headache, fever and stomach pain. Later that day – after an ambulance ride to Sanford Children’s Hospital in Sioux Falls and seeing a team of doctors – Ben was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“The night after he was diagnosed was the longest ever,” said Ben’s mom, Carrie Wieman.
Since that day, Ben’s been fighting his cancer hard, like a kid.
“Ben has taken all of this in stride,” Carrie Wieman said. “Nothing stops him.”
Ben spent the next 24 days in the hospital, including his birthday, but thanks to Sanford Children’s Cure Kids Cancer donors, his stay was the best it could be.
They helped purchase lifesaving equipment and technology, assisted the family with costs not covered by insurance and supported the child life specialists, who threw Ben a WrestleMania-themed party – celebrating his all-time favorite sport.
“They have made our lives a lot easier,” Carrie Wieman said. “We just know that they’re behind us, supporting us, all the time.”
Ben recently celebrated his 8th birthday, this time he got to be at home. He has another year of active treatment followed by two years of maintenance. After that, the Wieman family hopes he’ll have the all-clear.
For Ben, the best news has already come. He can start wrestling again.
“Ben is so happy and active. He really is an amazing boy,” Carrie Wieman said. “We feel so blessed, because he makes this journey easy.”
Tune in during the Results Radio Cure Kids Cancer Radiothon presented by Jerry’s Auto Sales on March 22 and 23, and hear inspiring stories of local kids like Ben Wieman.
Cure Kids Cancer at Sanford Children’s
More than 11,000 children will be diagnosed with various forms of cancer this year; and instead of chasing butterflies, these children will be learning about the serious experiences of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and hospital or clinic visits. Cure Kids Cancer is a Sanford Children’s initiative benefitting children fighting cancer at the Castle of Care in Sioux Falls. Gifts help purchase specialized, state-of-the-art equipment, advance pediatric cancer research, assist families with expenses not covered by insurance, such as meals, mileage and lodging and support special programs and services such as Child Life, Back to School, summer camps, social work and much more.