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  1. #1
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    LazyGary's Avatar
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    Oct 2013
    District 9
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    24th February 2021
    Local Time

    US boy battling cancer receives letter from LazyTown


    Checking a post office box in the age of Facebook and Twitter might not appeal to some 6-year-olds, but it's Ben Leslie's favorite part of the day.

    Ben, who lives in Saluda, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, synovial sarcoma, on Jan. 10 and has since undergone two series of chemotherapy.

    "He's been homebound because his (white blood cell) numbers have been low most of the time after the therapy, and so he's not been able to go to church he's really had to be homebound," his mother, Mary Leslie, said.

    While stuck at home, Ben asked his mother if she could message some of his favorite TV personalities on Facebook and ask them to pray for him.

    "So, I did; some asked for his mailing address, others sent him back messages on Facebook," Mary Leslie said. "When I posted on Facebook how happy Ben was to receive packages in the mail, some friends decided to help Ben get more cards and letters."

    So far, he's received more than 50 cards, letters and packages and he's eager for more.

    Diagnosis, treatment

    Synovial sarcoma is a rare and aggressive form of soft tissue sarcoma which appears as deep, slowly growing masses, according to the Office of Rare Diseases Research.

    It first appeared in Ben's ankle two years ago.

    "We were sent to a specialist, who after blood work and X-rays and MRIs decided he had arthritis," Mary Leslie said.

    From February until November of last year, Ben was treated for a condition he did not have.

    "This was going on for two years before we actually found out that it was cancer in there," Mary Leslie said. "We couldn't figure it out nobody knew what it was."

    It was not until a family friend, podiatrist Dr. Paul Cannon of Virginia, was in town for a visit that Ben's previous treatment came into question.

    Cannon examined Ben's foot, then suggested a specialized MRI.

    The MRI showed a cyst lying inside Ben's ankle. The cyst was surgically removed, and a pathologist's examination revealed that it was cancer.

    Ben's doctors told his family that it is extremely rare for a child to have this form of cancer and that there were only about 20 reported cases of children with this diagnosis.

    After another MRI, it became clear there was more of the cancer inside Ben's ankle.

    The family received a call on Friday from the oncologist giving them the go-ahead to begin Ben's third round of chemo on Monday.

    "I want to hurry up and get this out of there," Mary Leslie said. "The chemotherapy is working because it has shrunk."

    To support Ben through his chemo, his grandfather and father shaved their heads to match. Ben says he now looks like a minion from one of his favorite movies, "Despicable Me."

    His mother offered to shave her head as well, but Ben wouldn't let her, saying women are supposed to have hair.

    "You wouldn't look good without it," Ben said.

    Mail time

    On Feb. 7, Ben received his first package in the mail from Sportacus of the Icelandic show "Lazy Town," where Sportacus is the town's "slightly above average superhero," according to the show's website.

    The next day, Mary Leslie posted a photo of Ben with his package from the show, which she said her friends and family on Facebook began "liking" and "sharing" with their friends on Facebook.

    Within just a couple of days, Ben's mail started to pile up. As of Thursday afternoon, the family had received more than 50 packages and letters from places including Iceland, England, California and New York.

    "This is something from the outside coming in to say, 'Hey, we're thinking about you. We're praying for you,' " Mary Leslie said.

    A friend of the family has purchased a large map of the world and one of the United States for Ben to pinpoint where each letter he receives was sent from.

    "I just like getting them," Ben said. "My favorite kind is packages."

    Ben hopes to get mail from the Dallas Cowboys, his favorite football team, and Spiderman.

    "It is a wonderful thing that people are doing, and really it is overwhelming," Mary Leslie said. "I just had no idea that so many people would respond so quickly."

    His mother said it has been a moving experience to see the support being shown for her son.

    "I just told him on the way to the post office, 'You know this is as much fun for us as it is for you.' We like seeing who is sending him mail and to see how happy he is when he realizes that, 'Oh I got mail.' "

    "Actually, I am happier than you," Ben said in response.

    Ben's approach

    Ben's mother said his positive attitude over the past two years has amazed her.

    "Ben has never thought of himself through this; he has only asked for prayer," Mary Leslie said. "When we are at the oncologist or in the hospital for treatments, Ben has said, 'I hate seeing these children and babies go through this.' "

    The spunky 6-year-old keeps his parents and grandparents on their toes with jokes and games.

    Around Christmas time, when he was at a shopping mall with his mother, two attractive teenage girls walked by, making eye contact with Ben.

    "I'm actually a 26-year-old midget," Ben offered, eliciting laughter from the teens.

    "Of course, he keeps us strong, like I said, and we don't let him know too much about how we really feel because it's all going to be OK, right?" his mother asked him.

    "Actually, I know how you feel," Ben said. "Everything is going to be just fine. Now don't start crying I can see you've got a lazy eye! So close both eyes, and you might not have a lazy eye anymore."

    When Ben feels bad, he says, "Mommy I don't want to talk about it. I just want to listen to my music," or "I want to watch my show."

    "I know he's got questions, but he just doesn't want to ask," Mary Leslie said.

    When his father, Curtis Leslie, asked him what he knew about cancer, Ben said, "I know that it can kill you, but it's not going to kill me," his mother related.

    "Through it all, Ben has always said, 'I will be fine, we just need to pray harder,' " Mary Leslie said. "That's what we're doing praying harder. We'd like to ask everyone to please join us and pray harder for our dear, sweet Ben."

    Mail can be sent to Ben at P.O. Box 627, Dana, NC 28724.

    For updates on Ben's condition, visit his Facebook page "Blessings for Ben Leslie." A fund to help with medical bills has also been set up at the State Employees Credit Union.

  2. #2
    Owner of GetLazy Forums
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    LazyPooky's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Local Date
    24th February 2021
    Local Time

    Re: US boy battling cancer receives letter from LazyTown

    Quote Originally Posted by LazyGary View Post
    ..Ben received his first package in the mail from Sportacus of the Icelandic show "Lazy Town," where Sportacus is the town's "slightly above average superhero," according to the show's website...
    That was a nice surprise.

    They should have added a picture in the article.

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