Meet Our Hero: Rob Martinez - Super Brother To Ben Martinez

Sometime ago we introduced you to one of our heroes, Ben Martinez, who is waging a brave battle against Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. Ben finished his chemo treatments in June of 2014, however in January of 2015 the cancer came back, and it spread throughout his body. Now 14-years-old, Ben is fighting “the monster” once again.

Ben has had the strong support of his family, and especially the support of his older brother Rob. 

Meet Our Hero: Ruthie Mersburgh

Ruthie was just 4 ½ years old in February 2006. The next school year she would enter Kindergarten, which meant she needed to get her physical.  At her annual physical she passed and got an immunization. Two days later we notice a little lump on her left neck.  Ruthie being the youngest of our three children, we just thought maybe it was a swollen lymph node. 

Meet Our Hero: Wilson Bledsoe

When the ultrasound tech at Children’s Mercy uttered those words to my Mom and I on July 25th 2001, my heart shattered. Born on November 13, 2000, Wilson Allen Bledsoe proved from day one just how strong and determined he could be. He had a few minor issues all the while just being a typical happy baby.

Ben Martinez

Beginning of June 2013, Ben came in with a very tiny bump on his left foot (size of a pea) thinking he had been bit by a spider. It wasn't red, or hot to touch, but I treated it with Benadryl and then some Tylenol for discomfort. On June 13th, we went to Disneyland, but he was complaining of his foot hurting really bad, so bad in fact that he wasn't even able to enjoy Disneyland. We had to let him use the wheel chair that my mom was using. We get back to motel that night and the bump had grown to size of a quarter.

Derek Gropp

Derek's health has many challenges and he suffers from a very rare genetic mutation he acquired at conception that presents at birth called Kostmann's Syndrome. He also has two other mutations and is sadly, bracketed as a pre-leukemic due to the combination of mutations and one in particular. When Derek was first diagnosed, they said he wouldn't live past the age of 4, but he has diligently fought a courageous battle and is now 15. 

Alex Shepherd

A local boy from Ashland, Oregon, Alex was diagnosed with a Grade 3 Anaplastic Astrocytoma brain tumor in May of 2013 at the age of 11. He was an amazing young man who loved to ride and race his bike with his Dad. He took 4th overall for his division in Oregon. Alex also loved to ski, surf and had recently started soccer. He excelled in school (he was a math whiz) and volunteered at the animal shelter, where he was known as the cat whisperer because of his love for cats.