Ben Wheeler and Friends - Hopkinton Middle School
Ben Wheeler and Friends
In support of Ben Wheeler and his family while then four year old brother Christian fought cancer, several young friends started a team to walk in the Jimmy Fund Walk along the Marathon route to raise money and awareness to fight cancer. The team includes Jack Riley, Jack Brennan, Ben Wheeler, Ethan Kramer and Kevin Sullivan all 6th graders now (5th graders the first year we walked) and Rebekah Pohl, Samantha Riley and Julianna Kramer all current 8th graders at Hopkinton Middle School. The boys were at Hopkins School that first year and were awarded HALO (Helping And Leading Others) awards for their work.
We walk the half-marathon route and fundraise as a team. The boys turned out to be very effective little shakedown men. Who can resist a sweet 10 year old earnestly shaking a brightly colored coin jug under your nose raising money to help little Christian fight cancer; not many, that’s for sure. They raised over $5,000 that first year and enlisted their older sisters to join the team. Ethan Kramer and Jack Brennan were young pacesetters in fundraising that first year, and Ben Wheeler was a young pacesetter our second year.
Christian’s Hot Jamaican Chili Pepper Crusaders will walk for the third year in a row this coming fall under Ben Wheeler’s able team leadership (with a little help from the moms). Ben Wheeler (12), Jack Brennan (12), Ethan Kramer (12), Kevin Sullivan (12), Julianna Kramer (14), Rebekah Pohl (14) and Samantha Riley (14) will be joined by younger brothers Eric Sullivan (10) and Nick Wheeler (10) on this year’s team.
Once again we’ll gather to decorate bright orange team t-shirts and trek the route; they’ll sing, they’ll laugh, they’ll climb on stone walls, the boys will annoy the girls, the girls will annoy the boys, they’ll inspire other tired walkers, we’ll stop for ice cream after 8 miles (we always do) and they’ll further cement a bond of friendship that will never break. With grateful hearts we celebrate Christian’s good health; he’ll join us for the last mile. As we walk, we contemplate each hero along the way, and the heroes they represent, as we touch the placards; we empathize with their struggle, share their family’s grief or celebrate their current vibrant health. The reality of cancer, the magnitude of the calamity is there with us, but the walk helps us to take constructive action, to cope and most importantly to plan for the future. We walk for those who can’t, we walk to help ourselves manage the weight of the struggle, and we walk to raise money & awareness in the fight against cancer.