Ben Austin loves superheroes, like many boys. Last week, the 3-year-old was diagnosed with a Wilms tumor, a form of pediatric kidney cancer. As a result, the little boy has to go through several months of chemotherapy treatment and surgeries.
Because of this, his parents, Jason and Sara Austin, are trying to use his love of superheroes to give their son hope. His dad told TODAY:
“His cousin had the idea for his friends and family to send hand-drawn pictures of superheroes with motivational phrases for Ben. We are just hoping this eases his transition into his new normal. We hope that this reinforces the idea that he is just as strong, if not stronger, than any of the superheroes.
We want him to know there is nothing to fear, and that he has a tremendous support system of friends and family.”
In order to do this, Ben’s aunt, Jonelle Kusminsky, posted a call to action on Facebook this week, asking people to send pictures of their favorite superhero and mail them to her nephew as he begins treatment. She wrote:
“As family and friends, we were all feeling pretty helpless in the face of profoundly surprising and scary news. I hope — for as much as a 3 year old can grasp these things — that when Ben receives these drawings, he feels supported and really embraced by a whole extended village he never knew he had.”
You can read her entire post below:
As of now, Ben will undergo 12 weeks of chemotherapy. Ben is also an older brother to his 11-week-old sister, Elle, who has helped give him a lot of energy despite his illness, according to his parents:
“Ben is such an energetic, friendly and empathetic little boy. He loves his little sister more than anything in the world, and he hasn’t let this slow him down in the slightest.”
If you want to help out and send drawings to Ben (and tweet them using the hashtag: #superheroesforbenny), you can can be mail them to:
Benjamin Austin, c/o The Malta Family, 10 Wheatfield Lane, Mountaintop, Pennsylvania, 18707.