'It was devastating': Sask. family receives outpouring of support after 2.5-year-old son diagnosed with leukemia
SASKATOON -- A family from Outlook has received an outpouring of community support after their two-and-a half-year-old son was diagnosed with a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow.
“It was devastating. Something you never want to hear happen to your child or family member, especially your own child,” said Rob Grunerud, Benny’s dad.
Benny was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on Feb. 17.
Grunerud said his wife, Miranda, noticed small, pin-sized red and purple spots on Benny’s stomach so they booked an appointment at the doctor. The day before the appointment, bruises started to show up on Benny’s legs and arms.
“What seems like something small, like simple bruising, might not be the case. So, I mean parents usually know best for their children and it’s so true… just trust your instincts,” Miranda told CTV News.
After a bone marrow biopsy, doctors at the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital discovered Benny has ALL and found cancer in his spinal fluid.
“It breaks your heart when you hear it happen to someone else that you don’t even know,” Miranda said. “Nothing can prepare you for what you feel when it’s your own baby.”
According to Rob, Benny has started chemotherapy and will need to continue treatment for at least three years.
His family said his life would look much different for him if he weren’t going through this.
“He would be running around instead of stuck to a bed and he would be fighting and playing and laughing with his sister every day,” Miranda said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Benny’s parents with lost income while they’re away from work and make regular trips to Saskatoon for his treatment.
Just under $30,000 was raised in one day, and now that total sits at over $34,000.
Terrace Dining Room in Broderick is also stepping up to help the family.
Owner and chef Veronica Prokopiw said the restaurant has pledged to donate a dollar for every eggs benedict they sell on Sundays, starting this week.
The initiative is being called Eggs Benny for Little Benny.
“Just when you see that little face in that picture and he’s two. I have a grandson that’s two and it just hit really close to home,” she said.
Prokopiw, who knows Rob, said she ran the idea by him before going ahead with it.
She said they will also have a jar by the front where people can place their donations.
Prokopiw said her restaurant will continue doing this as long as Benny needs treatment.
“It’s just going to be an ongoing fundraiser until the little one is done with his treatment. So, they said three years, that’s how long we’ll do it, it doesn’t matter to me. However long it takes,” she said.
The Gruneruds call the community support overwhelming.
“It’s overwhelming with the amount of people that just want to support Benny,” Miranda said. “We’re pretty blessed to live in the community that we do.”
“We’re definitely not going to be able to do this alone and the community has shown that they’re behind us 100 per cent. We thank our friends that did this for us,” Rob added.
The Gruneruds said so far, Benny is reacting well to the chemotherapy and things are looking good for them to be able to go home and find their new normal.