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  • A Special Weekend, a Special Company, and a Very Special Little Boy

    In February 2010, Kim and Robin Byers’ (CSR screen name rabyers1) 3-year-old son, Benjamin, was diagnosed with A.L.L. or acute lymphoblastic leukemia. After a 6-week stay at Duke Children’s Hospital undergoing rigorous and aggressive treatment, Benjamin’s leukemia was in remission, and he was ready to resume his full time job of being a typical little boy.Friends at Sea Ray, who keep up with our antics here on Club Sea Ray, read the posts about Benjamin and sent him several packages of Sea Ray items to help him and his family over a tough time.Now, skip ahead 1-1/2 years………Sea Ray has stayed in touch with the Byers family, and they invited Benjamin and his folks to attend the invitation-only Yacht Expo 2011 held at the Sykes Creek facility. So, on December 2, after registering at the event and receiving a package containing hats, shirts, and other gear from Sea Ray, Benjamin joined Capt. Rusty Higgins on board Rusty’s new 2012 610 Sundancer. Here, Benjamin gets the lay of the land: Here is Benjamin at the helm and first mate (little brother Brody) manning the throttles on the 610DA: After an appropriate orientation and a short trip down the barge canal behind the Sykes Creek factory, here is Benjamin at the helm of the 610 heading down the ICW at Merritt Island, FL with an able-bodied, but minimal assist from Dad, under the watchful eye of Capt. Rusty: Speaking as a boat guy, I am sure the highlight of the trip was getting to run Capt. Rusty’s boat, but Benjamin and his family also seemed to enjoy the other weekend activities which included rides on several of the new 2012 Sea Rays, watching the photo helicopter fly just a few feet off the water very near the new boats while photographing/videotaping customers on boat rides, and joining the customers and Sea Ray employees and management for the evening dinner hosted at the Sykes Creek factory. Benjamin’s trip concluded with 2 days at Disney World, also hosted by the folks at Sea Ray. I don’t know any other company in this industry or any other that would go to this extent to try to bring some joy to a little guy who has had to deal with some difficult challenges in his short life. The great folks at Sea Ray, both at Sykes Creek and at their corporate offices, have certainly taken their commitment to customer satisfaction to a whole new level. These are regular folks who really do care about their customers……..even the 4-year-old ones.Postscript:• Benjamin is doing great and is about ½ way thru a 3 year treatment and follow up program. Those of us who were fortunate enough to spend time with the Byers family this week can attest to the fact that Ben is 100% boy. You would never know he has had a life threatening illness.• Benjamin was selected to be a poster child for the Duke Children’s Hospital and here is a link to his page there:http://www.dukechildrens.org/giving/...ized_superhero• If you would like to know more about Benjamin and his battle, click here:http://allaboutbenjaminb.shutterfly.com/
    This article was originally published in forum thread: A Special Weekend, a Special Company, and a Very Special Little Boy started by fwebster View original post
    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Carpedmman's Avatar
      Carpedmman -
      Great Story! Thanks for sharing! All the best to Ben for a very successful recovery!
    1. greatlakestkd's Avatar
      greatlakestkd -
      Amazing! Thanks for sharing!
    1. Hans's Avatar
      Hans -
      Super story, thank for sharing!
    1. DVACARI's Avatar
      DVACARI -
      Awesome story! Breaks my heart to hear about such innocent kids with a life threating disease. Kudos to the Sea Ray family well done!
    1. rabyers1's Avatar
      rabyers1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DVACARI View Post
      Awesome story! Breaks my heart to hear about such innocent kids with a life threating disease. Kudos to the Sea Ray family well done!
      So, Benjamin is now in his final year of treatment and we have gotten up the gumption (and the blessing of the Docs at Duke) to begin venturing outside of a one hour radius of the hospital for any length of time like an overnight stay. We recently took advantage of this new found freedom to move our boat two hours east to Wilmington, NC and off the trailer and into a dry slip at Bradley Creek on the Intracoastal. Well, as many of you know, (especially if you are heading to the Homecoming in TN next month and/or are following his thread about the event) Captain Rusty Higgins of Sea Ray in Sykes Creek, FL has been battling weather and mechanical challenges bringing an owners yacht back home this week to the Wrightsville Beach Marine Max. Anyway, while Rusty was waging his battle, Benjamin had a little battle of his own going on all this past week as a high fever resulted in two trips to Duke for treatments. Luckily he did not have to be admitted and so we were able to bring him down here to the coast today to see Rusty before he had to head back down to Merritt Island. Here is Ben with his hero Captain Rusty. As you can see, the Captain looks like he had quite a week on the high seas, but he dropped everything he was doing to spend time with us on the Meridian 541 he was putting to bed when we finally pulled in to the slip.

      Thank you Rusty. Once again you put a big smile on all of our faces, especially Ben's.

      Attachment 26440
    1. fwebster's Avatar
      fwebster -
      Robin,

      Thank you for the update on Benjamin. I am glad he is progressing as well as all of us who met him at Yacht Expo knew he would. We've talked about Ben, you, Kim and Brody many times since last December, so I know Rusty was glad to catch up with you all. Best wishes for continued progress............