🔥🔥Impassioned Marketer
🗣️Speaker 📋Coach ✍️Writer
🚑Aortic Aneurysm Survivor
🙏Devoted Dad

A social media memory that appeared on my timeline is the impetus that causes me to take a seat in the kitchen reflecting on Sully's Leukemia journey. 

The kitchen is dark except for the glow of the utility light over the sink. It's a school night and the boys are in bed sleeping. The house is quiet except for the dishwasher running and the faint sound of Darius Rucker playing from the Alexa. 

I sit at the table waiting for the last load of laundry to finish so that I can fold it and go to bed.

My God has it really been two years since that day?

We have another year left of chemotherapy, spinal taps, blood draws, MRI's, pill cases and doctor appointments, but my boy is cancer free. 

How will we get through another year? Exactly how we've come this far: I'm not sure how we've done it. I just pray to God before bed, we wake up and plant our feet, and we go through the motions. 

In the blink of an eye Sully has been through an unpleasant divorce, cancer diagnosis, his sister leaving for college, and then the dog that slept with him every night; his best friend, got slaughtered in the road in front of our house by a passing truck before his very eyes. 

One of these experiences alone is a challenge for a kid. All of them shoved into a short time period is a lot.

But he is so resilient, optimistic, responsible, and such a pure soul. He is the epitome of a good boy. We find positive vibes and laughs in every day.

One day recently I was upstairs and happened to pass by his game room while he was playing the piano. It was bittersweet. 

He had been on a visit to my mom's and taught himself how to play a couple of songs on my brothers keyboard while he was there. Naturally she sent the keyboard home with him. 

He set it up in his game room and I noticed that he began choosing the keyboard over the X-box. 

That day he sat there with his back to me playing Beethoven's Fur Elise. I stood outside and watched from the doorway. It was one of those moments that touches you in a way you never forget. All I could think of was how much he had been through and how beautiful it was to see him find such enjoyment in the notes of the classical song he was playing. 

I was impressed by his choice of music and ability to play that song with no experience. I stood there listening, careful to leave before he finished and noticed me. Later that evening I told him how proud I was and he told me how much he enjoyed classical music. 

The past year has brought many changes. I have watched him become a better chef; his specialty being fried rice and chicken. He is on a soccer team, builds forts in the woods, bikes all over town, and has a friend group that has grown very large. 

He has become extremely independent which makes me proud but melancholy. Some of his independence is his natural personality but the rest is a derivative of growing up in a single parent house. 

Recently we reorganized his closet, I taught him how to use the washer and do his own laundry, and he has been spending a lot of time with his friends. 

One Saturday I left to do a road race and called his phone to check in on him and his older brother: 

"Hey bud, what are you guys doing?"

"I'm eating", he said. 

"Where are you?"

"I'm at the Mexican place."

"What do you mean you are at the Mexican place Sully? You and your brother were supposed to call me if you left the house."

"I'm with a friend having lunch at the Mexican place across from the gym where we go. We rode bikes."

I paused and stared straight ahead for a moment with the phone at my ear ready to kick his ass; but oddly this 12 year old man boss on the phone made me feel like I was interrupting an adult lunch. 

"You have to pay you know. How are you paying?"

"From my account, I have my card. I got $500 for my birthday", he said. 

I paused again, and then replied.

"Oh, okay. Well, uhm... you better have your helmet, and stop spending so much money on door dash and food or it will be gone quickly. We have food at home."

"Okay Dad bye."

I smiled and shook my head. His maturity in the overly coddled environment these kids grow up in today amazes me. He is an old soul, brilliant, and streetwise. 

He told me a week later that he had a girlfriend. Coincidentally I learned that was the friend he ate lunch with at the Mexican place! 

He got a flat tire on his bike last week because the tires were so bald. He said he skidded and just heard air leak out. Sure enough I looked and the rear tire was flat and so bald it had almost worn through. I asked him why he didn't tell me the tires were bald and he just shrugged his shoulders. After a closer inspection I saw that one of the break pads had broken off and his seat needed to be raised because he had grown. I looked up at him and he just shrugged again. I shook my head. 

"You can't just ride it and not maintain it. Look how filthy it is you need to wash it once in a while, oil the chain, and check everything."

He looked at me like I was speaking Chinese. 

He rides back and forth to school so I needed to get it fixed immediately. The local bike shop was closed on Monday. I called one a little further away that was open but the man told me they were too busy to fix the flat while we waited. So we hopped into the car and drove there and bought two new tires, tubes, and brake pads. 

He liked the idea that we were going to do this ourselves. We got back in the car and he said "I'm going to help you". 

"Yes you are" I said. 

The next hour consisted of grabbing the right tools for the job, having to explain every detail about the tools, the parts, and a plethora of questions as we disassembled and reassembled the bike. 

"Didn't you used to build bikes when you were a kid dad?" he asked. 

"Yes sort of, I raced BMX bikes"

"Listen this part is important" I said as I was assembling the first new tube and tire on the rim. 

"You have to be very careful as you inflate it that the tube stays fully inside the tire. If it's not on properly and sticks out it will get pinched and pop."

He was hyper attentive his eyes didn't blink, he loved this project. 

We inflated the first tire and put it back on. 

The most memorable part of the job was when we were reassembling the second tube and tire onto the rim. 

I got hasty and made the mistake of putting it on the bike this time before inflating it which made it more difficult to keep the tube aligned. As we started to inflate it, it exploded twice!


Sully's face lit up and he cupped his ears. I started laughing. 

"Uhm..... THAT. That is what I meant not to do Sully."

"We should have inflated it while it was off the bike and been more careful. Good lesson."

"That was loud. Are your ears ringing dad?"

We finished the job reusing one of the old tubes that wasn't popped, installed the new brake pads, adjusted all the cables, and oiled everything.

"Thanks I can do it myself next time now that I know how to do it" he said.

Earlier in the month I took him for chemotherapy in the morning and then dropped him back at the house because I had a short meeting for work around the corner. He stays home from school on chemo days and lays low watching TV or playing the X-box. 

I returned an hour later.

"Sully" I called out when I walked in the door. 


"Sully!" I yelled. 

After two more times yelling louder the side door of the house burst open and he walked in. 

He had his red Beats headphones on and was breathing hard, dripping with sweat, and had a tomato red face. He looked like someone hit him with a flame thrower.

My eyes widened.

"What are you doing?" I asked. 

"Working out" he said as he nonchalantly pushed past me without even making eye contact.

I turned around.

"What? Where? What?" I asked. 

"In the gym" he said not even turning around or breaking his grown man stride.

During COVID I had built a fully equipped gym inside of a solarium on the side of our house. 

"Where are you going now?" I asked

"To take a shower" he said. 

I stood there eyes wide and had one of the hardest internal laughs I've ever had.




  1. Sully is a true warrior!! Little does he know that he has a prayer chain 10 miles long as I have secretele asked those in my circle who believe and are true spiritualists to keep him in their daily prayers the same way I do every day. Very few could be able to take what he has gone through and still get up from every fall, dust himself off and push forward. He is a winner and that’s what winners do!! God bless you Sully!!!

  2. You know I am one of your biggest fans Ben- your friendship means the world to me and reading your blogs always makes me laugh and cry- usually at the same time. You are making a great man - ❤️

  3. I can't believe it has been two years. I will never forget the day Ryan running down the stairs crying telling me Sully had cancer. I told him he was confused and to relax until I got in touch with you. Then I texted you asking if Sully was in tne hospital and you said "Sully has lukemia"
    After that I really tried to remember not to sweat tje small stuff. If your children are healthy that is the best blessing you could have.
    We love you all.

  4. I hung on to each and every word as I read this. To say that I am proud of you Ben is an understatement. I love you and the kids! Just know that no matter the miles that separate us I am always but a heartbeat away ❤️❤️❤️❤️💪🏻💪🏻

  5. What a truly incredible young man you are raising. God bless you both.

  6. Ben you are a great writer. As I read each sentence I hang on every word. You have grown to be such an amazing Dad for your children. Sully is one lucky boy. You’ve raised him well. Glad he is cancer free. Sending hugs and my love to you and your family.😘🫂❤️


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