By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Northborough – Since November, when 13-year-old Matt Benestad was diagnosed with cancer, the young Northborough teen has been through surgery, radiation, and is now undergoing chemotherapy.
“He’s doing ok, in spite of everything,” his father Chris. “But he has had to face really tough adult things in a really fast way. He’s had to grow up way too fast.”
A student at St. Bernadette’s School in Northborough, Matt has been unable to attend school while he is going through treatment so he is being tutored by his mother Kelly, who is on family leave from her job as a teacher at the Montrose School In Medfield. Chris, who is a teacher at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, also works with Matt on his studies as well.
“We are grateful to our schools for their support,” Kelly said. “They have been amazing.”
And on Feb. 22, the family got another boost of support when they were presented with a check for $5,000 by the nonprofit organization, Cops for Kids with Cancer.
The presentation was made to Matt and his family at the Northborough Police Station by Michael Drummy, a retired State Police officer who volunteers with the organization. Drummy also gave Matt several other gifts, including a handmade quilt that featured logos of Boston teams. Northborough Police Chief William Lyver also presented the young man with a number of gifts including a hoodie and a promise of a ride in a police cruiser when he felt up to it.
Chris and Kelly noted that they were “so grateful” to the organization as well as the Northborough Police Department, who helped to facilitate the generous donation.
“It will definitely help us pay some of our medical bills,” Chris said. “This is a huge weight off our shoulders.”
“It means so much to us,” Kelly said. “This has all been so overwhelming but we are so grateful for everyone’s support.”
Cops for Kids with Cancer was started in February 2002, as a friendly golf rivalry between retired Boston Captain John Dow’s Boston Police team and members of Ireland’s Garda Siochana, led by Detective Pat Hanlon. The officers determined that the event should also be a fundraiser for children who were diagnosed with cancer.
Families not only have to deal with medical bills when a child is diagnosed but also things like a parent needing to take time off from work, meals, hotels, parking and paying their every day bills such as a mortgage, rent or utilizes.
On the organization’s website, it is noted that the “There are many organizations raising money for important research, but our goal is to help the children and their caregivers through this most difficult crisis.”
“To date we have provided assistance through $5,000 grants to over 790 families of families of young cancer victims throughout New England since our inception,” Drummy said.
“We know this is the worst thing a parent can go through, having a child that has been dealt this terrible diagnosis,” he added. “We are glad that we can give them some support to help them.”
To learn more about Cops for Kids with Cancer visit copsforkidswithcancer.org.