For the past three years, Western New York has been rooting behind a four-year-old boy fighting for his life. After relapsing twice, Lancaster native Bentley Hayden is battling cancer for a third time. The City of Good Neighbors is rallying behind him with the “Battle for Bentley.”
“I just remember asking the doctor, ‘are you sure he has cancer? Kids don’t get cancer,'” said Krystal Hayden.
In December of 2016, Hayden’s son Bentley was diagnosed with Stage Four Neuroblastoma. He was just two and a half years old.
After a long battle the Hayden family received incredible news, Bentley was in remission. “We finally felt like we could breathe for the first time in two years,” said Hayden. “We were envisioning all the things we could do. between going to school, playing on the playground.”
A few months later, Bentley’s cancer returned.
“That relapse hit harder than the initial diagnosis,” said Hayden. After several months of treatment the good news came again. “For the second time my four year old beat cancer,” said Hayden. But this past January, Bentley relapsed a second time.
The past several months have been difficult emotionally and financially for the Hayden family. That’s when a local couple felt compelled to step in and create the Battle for Bentley fundraiser. Melissa and Bernie Switzer have never met Bentley, but after hearing his story they put together the fundraiser in his honor, this Saturday.
“We know that cancer can take a toll on anyone’s pocket book, even the deepest,” said Switzer. “We want to give some financial relief to the family.”
Bentley’s mother says it’s that kind of generosity, coupled with her son’s determination that keep her going. “As long as he fights, I’m going to fight, and when he feels like he can no longer fight, i’m going to help him stand back up,” she said.
The Battle for Bentley Fundraiser takes place this Saturday at the Irish Center in Buffalo. Organizers were hoping Bentley would be there but his mother told us today he’s in the hospital again, so the family needs your support more than ever.