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WILMINGTON, NC (CFCC) — Cancer affects millions of people each year. One Cape Fear Community College professor is experiencing it through his five-year-old son.

“He’s funny,” Kate Freeland said of her son Bennie. “He’s very straightforward. He knows what he wants, and he’s very literal. When you say, ‘I’m pulling your leg,’ he says, ‘No you’re not. My leg’s right here.’ He’s beyond his years. He’s a good boy.”

Freeland says her son is not your typical five-year-old. Most people would agree. Bennie has stage-four medulloblastoma, or brain cancer.

“We freaked out pretty bad,” Patrick Freeland said. “We were a couple of bumbling idiots for about three or four days.”

Bennie was diagnosed on Christmas Eve after suffering from chronic headaches and nausea. He was sent to Chapel Hill immediately, and he and his family stayed there for two months, through the holidays and Bennie’s fifth birthday.

His father Patrick is the lead instructor of the Marine Diesel Program at CFCC, where colleagues have stepped up to help.

“We certainly felt bad for him,” CFCC professor Josh Padgett said. “We couldn’t imagine what he must be going through. In our department, we’re all kind of close, and he’s more than just a colleague. We wanted to reach out and do something for him. We felt kind of helpless, which I’m sure he did. We thought we could help with the financial burden at least.”

Fellow CFCC faculty planned the Freeland Family Fun Day Saturday to raise money to help with the high medical bills. Both parents say the support they’ve received from the school is astonishing. The family is going to try to make it out and have some fun, but Bennie gets tired quickly. His dad said the chemo really takes it out of him, but he tries to play every day.

“We want to keep him around. That’s our biggest thing is just keeping our son with us and fighting it to the end,” Patrick said.

Patrick said Kate is the heart of the family, but she says they draw their strength from each other.

“I’ve reached the point of acceptance,” Kate said. “I’m ready to plow through it and get it knocked out so he can get back to being Bennie.”

Freeland Family Fun Day
CFCC North Campus – behind the McKeithan Center
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Events include a bounce houses for kids, a picnic lunch, a silent auction, corn hole, a golf chipping contest, and other activities suitable for all ages. Admission is $10 per person for food and fun. Other donations will also be accepted. All proceeds will benefit the Freeland family!

For more details contact Josh Padgett at (910) 616-1089.


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