Many of our regular readers will remember the interview we brought you recently about Ben, a West End identity and long time supporter and participant in the food giveaway. Ben’s dynamic personality and love of life have touched many people, and we were all devastated to learn that his heath has taken a turn for the worse.
Ben has aggressive pancreatic cancer. He has a a major operation schedule for the 26 November and he his age and health see him facing a 30% chance of waking up.
His reaction to this devastating news is classic Ben and could teach us all something about mortality.
“We’ve all gotta go sometime,” he says although there is pain in his voice.
“You know what?” He adds. “I just want to live long enough to see Donald Trump in handcuffs.”
I laugh, despite myself and Ben joins me.
“You know the other thing I want?” he says. “I want to spend more time smiling.”
“I just got a whole new set of teeth last week. I have had no teeth since just before COVID hit. They were falling out as I was so sick and then COVID struck and my dentist shut down for months.”
Now that I finally have teeth – I want to smile at everyone I see.”
Again. Classic Ben.
Ben’s upcoming operation is going to be intense. He will be at least under anaesthetic for at least 7 hours, and the doctors will take out his pancreas and much of his stomach. The goal will be to remove as much of the cancer as they can, while keeping his organs working.
After the operation, he’ll be in intensive care for at least ten days and once he returns home, his mobility will be greatly restricted. “I have so many wonderful friends who have offered to help me any way they can,” he says, “but I hate the idea of being unable to get around and do the things I love.”
Those who follow community friends online will remember, we did a call out for donations to help us repair an old scooter for Ben to help keep him mobile. It turned out that repairing the old scooter wasn’t viable. So, we are now seeking donations to help buy Ben a second-hand scooter which will make a huge difference to his mobility.
We’d love to accept any donations from anyone who can help. Together, let’s work to keep Ben smiling around West End.
Please, donate here
Writer: Kathy Wilson