Puppy love for cancer survivor Ben who is an example to us all

Ben Herbert is given a black Labrador dog, called Molly, by Simon and Suzie Napier for his Dream Come True. Ben was only five when he was diagnosed with leukaemia. Picture: Fergal Phillips

Ben Herbert was only five years old when he was diagnosed with high-risk B cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.

During his illness Ben, from Dublin, had to endure a huge amount.

He underwent intensive treatment for the first eight months, with gruelling results — he lost 10lb in four days, was hospitalised, and placed on morphine as a result.

He endured 13 blood transfusions, each lasting at least five hours.

Sometimes Ben was six days a week in Crumlin Hospital for chemotherapy and took over 160 chemotherapy tablets a month to keep him alive — and the doses were strengthened as his height and weight increased.

Four years on, Ben has come out the other end and celebrates his birthday tomorrow.

According to his parents Deirdre and Simon Herbert. “He is our little hero and we are all very proud of him”.

After receiving his National Children of Courage Award in November 2014 from the Share a Dream Foundation, Ben’s dream was to have his own black female labrador puppy, which he planned to call Molly.

Ben with Molly. He couldn’t get the dog until after his treatment for leukaemia was completed and he was in remission.
Ben with Molly. He couldn’t get the dog until after his treatment for leukaemia was completed and he was in remission.

However, Ben couldn’t get the puppy until after his treatment finished in July last and he was in remission so his mother, Deirdre, felt his birthday was the perfect time.

So, Share a Dream began scouring the country to find this black labrador pup before Ben’s birthday.

Eventually, after contacting many organisations, a breakthrough came when Share a Dream contacted breeders, Simon and Suzie Napier, from Wicklow.

After hearing Ben’s story, Simon was deeply moved but also by the fact that one of his own sons is called Ben and his other son celebrates the same birthday as him.

So, yesterday afternoon Ben and his parents arrived at the Regency Hotel in Swords, Co Dublin, where the brave boy got a huge surprise when he was presented with his labrador puppy — Molly.

Ben’s mother Deirdre explained that they had ordered the kennel for the puppy but Ben still had no idea and was resigned to the fact that it was not going to happen.

But happen it did and, much to Ben and his parents’ delight, he got to meet Molly and take her home.

If you would like to contact Share a Dream to help make more dreams a reality for children like Ben phone 061-200080, dreams@shareadream.ie , www.shareadream.ie


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