GETZVILLE, NY (WIVB) - Inside the Chapel at Crosspoint, a little boy received received a very big turnout Sunday afternoon.
Well over a thousand people attended a benefit for four-year-old Benjamin Sauer, who is fighting an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer, glioblastoma. It caused a pear-sized tumor to grow on Ben’s brain.
“I felt I had to be here. This boy, this little boy… I don’t even know who he is. But the bravery he has shown, I’m shaking just thinking about it. His family, what they must be going through, I could never even imagine,” said April Stefanski of Wheatfield.
Like so many of the people at the Chapel, April Stefanski says despite the fact that the Sauers are complete strangers to her, she has been touched by Ben’s story. She has three young daughters of her own.
“I couldn’t imagine ever hearing that kind of news. I couldn’t ever imagine feeling what the family must feel,” she said.
First responders from all over Erie County – including members of the Sheriff’s Office, West Seneca and Amherst Police, and the Getzville Volunteer Fire Company - came in uniform.
“We got together, and on our way here we were touched that we saw all the cars coming in,” Getzville Fire Lieutenant Daric Will remarked. “We’re here for this boy, even us firemen… Come to support Ben and his family at this hard time.”
Hundreds of baskets were being raffled off. There was also a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. All of the money raised will help offset the cost of Ben’s surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
“Anything I could, just to help them, I think is fantastic,” Stefanski said. “It hit makes my heart feel bigger.”
Nearly everyone wore something “blue for Ben” – the color he wears to distinguish himself from his identical twin.
“It hit just a little blue ribbon on my front porch. It’s not much, but it shows mine mine and my family’s support for Ben,” Stefanski said.
This weekend, Central Terminal, the Peace Bridge and Buffalo’s Electric Tower are lit up “blue for Ben,” an entire region rallying around this brave and special little boy.
“We’re hoping everything turns out for the best for Ben,” said Lt. Will.